Promising parallels abound (not least between the two women's burdens), but the direction is stubbornly flat-footed.
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Something like a cross between a torn-from-the-headlines docudrama, a Middle East conflict rendered in miniature and Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard," this latest film from the terrific Israeli director Eran Riklis revolves around the amazing lead performance of Palestinian-French actress Hiam Abbass.
Israeli filmmaker Eran Riklis' Lemon Tree is a lively deadpan comedy which, like his prior film "The Syrian Bride," satirizes Israel's bureaucrats while remaining sympathetic to citizens who live within and adjacent to Israel's disputed borders.
A positive and personal look at the Israel/ Palestine divide through the quest of one woman to maintain her own property.
The rare ability to make intelligent, entertaining cinema from hot-button current issues is beautifully illustrated by Lemon Tree.
This story--or stories like it--has been told and re-told too often. Lemon Tree works best when Riklis cuts out the predictable melodrama and trusts the fertility of his central metaphor.
The cast is uniformly fine, but Abbass and Lipaz-Michael shine as two women who bond in the fear that the best of their lives is over and neither of them is happy with what the future holds.
A wrenching, richly layered feminist allegory as well as a geopolitical one.
Referencing the popular song, the movie's title reminds us that "the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat." That, in a rind, is Riklis's deeply frustrated view of his country's stalemate, but you can only take a metaphor so far before it falters in the face of endless geopolitical complexity.
You know a performance has to be special when a Palestinian wins Israel's version of the Best Actress Oscar. But why should politics detract from a stunning performance?