Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Etz Limon
Israel/Germany/France, 2008. Heimatfilm, MACT Productions, Eran Riklis Productions, Riva Filmproduktion, Arte France Cinéma, ZDF/Arte, Metro Communications, United King Films, Citrus Film Investors, Canal+, Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Israeli Film Fund, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Lemon Tree, Ministry of Education and Sport. Screenplay by Suha Arraf, Eran Riklis. Cinematography by Rainer Klausmann. Produced by Eran Riklis. Music by Habib Shadah. Production Design by Miguel Markin. Costume Design by Rona Doron. Film Editing by Tova Ascher.
An enormous political situation is whittled down to a person-to-person dispute when the Israeli Defense Minister moves in with his wife to a luxurious home right next to a lemon grove owned by a Palestinian widow. Deciding that the grove poses a security risk, as terrorists could use it to attack across the fence, the grove is ordered to be cleared and the trees uprooted. This immediately forces a usually quiet and undemonstrative woman to fight back, insisting that the grove, which she inherited from her father, is her life and, once she decides to take her neighbor to court, the issue becomes a national debate. About as subtle as an atom bomb, this film gets high points for being bold rather than didactic, with committed performances and an intelligent and thought-provoking screenplay guiding a wonderfully satisfying story with a wholly appropriate conclusion. Hiam Abbass is marvelous in the lead, and Rona Lipaz-Michael backs her up beautifully as the wife with the burgeoning conscience.