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Lemon Tree (2008) [DVD]

4.5 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Hiam Abbass, Doron Tavory, Ali Suliman, Rona Lipaz-Michael, Tarik Copty
  • Directors: Eran Riklis
  • Format: Anamorphic, Widescreen, PAL, Dolby, Digital Sound
  • Language: Arabic, Hebrew, English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Unanimous Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 27 April 2009
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001R65FMO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,465 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Salma, a Palestinian widow, has to stand up against her new neighbour, the Israeli Defense Minister, when he moves into his new house opposite her lemon grove, on the green line border between Israel and the West Bank. The Israeli security forces are quick to declare that Salma s trees pose a threat to the Minister s safety and issue orders to uproot them. Together with Ziad Daud, her young Palestinian lawyer, Salma goes all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court to try and save her trees. Her struggle raises the interest of Mira Navon, the Defense minister s wife, who is trapped in her new home and in an unhappy life. Despite their differences and the borders between them the two women develop an invisible bond, while forbidden ties grow stronger between Salma and Ziad. Salma s legal and personal journey lead her deep into the complex, dark and sometimes funny chaos of the ongoing struggle in the Middle East, in which all players find themselves alone in their struggle to survive.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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An outstandingly good film. The director tackles the bitter Israel-Palestinian conflict by focusing on how it impinges on one Arab widow (the wonderful Hiam Abbass) who tries to scrape a living from her grove of lemon trees. Her new neighbour, who unfortunately for her is the Israeli defence minister and his wife, is advised by his security goons that the next door lemon grove constitutes a security risk, and an order is given for its chopping down. The widow decides against all odds to fight the decision, eventually taking it all the way to the Supreme Court.

The great merit of this film lies in the way the political theme, interesting enough on its own, is entwined with private dramas going on in the lives of the widow, the lawyer she engages to fight her case, and the minister's wife who is brought to perceive the human cost of a political decision in which she is implicated. These interlinked public and private themes are delicately handled, with just the right amount of weight being given to each.

Hiam Abbass, who I thought was the best thing about the same director's earlier The Syrian Bride, here shines even more brightly. She gives a wonderfully subtle portrayal of a woman who resists pressure from all sides, including from overbearing male interests, to give in and conform. Against the odds and her natural temperament, she turns her small act of revolt into one symbolic of every individual fighting for justice against overweening authority. This is great acting.
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Sometimes it's the small things that cause differences between people. In this movie that small thing is a lemon or rather a grove full of lemon trees. The only livelihood of a widowed Salma is threatened by her new neighbour, the Israeli Defence minister. In this splendid movie the story, the characters and the direction are all supreme. This movie should be mandatory viewing for anyone who is not sure how the Israeli-Palestinian affects ordinary people.
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By technoguy VINE VOICE on 26 Jun. 2010
Format: DVD
Lemon Tree is a poignant parable based on several case studies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.We get to taste the bitter lemons for the Palestinian widow,Salma Zidane(Hiam Abbass),whose livelihood comes from the lemon grove she inherited from her father and grandfather.She makes sparkling lemonade and offers the drink to visitors.An old family friend helps her water the trees and remove decaying leaves and fruit.However into her life comes the shadow of the newly built home of the Minister of Defence,Israel Navon(Tavory).Although this would be unlikely in truth that Israel,the minister, would situate his home on the Greenline border between Israel and the West Bank,we suspend our disbelief.At the back of our minds is the "separation barrier"(the wall) between Israel and the occupied territories and its effect being a symptom of deep fear,malaise and injustice.The increasing separation between the two Semitic peoples is embodied in the patriarchal systems of belief on both sides.

Mira(Rona Lipaz-Michael) is incarcerated in her new wealthy home,suffering her own divisions from her husband and loss of her growing children.She looks across the fence separating her and Salma,and through silent observation and empathy with her Palestinian neighbour,comes to disengage herself from her philandering husband,who too easily conforms to his security staff's wishes.The state of Israel slaps a requirement that the grove should be uprooted due to a fear of terrorists using it for cover,becoming a threat to the minister's life.They offer compensation, but Salma's sentimental roots in the grove, now her children have grown up, as well as her livelihood,make her seek out a young lawyer,Ziad Daud,to help her take it to the Supreme Court.
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This is a wonderful drama that raises a personal issue to the level of telling the story of a nation. On one side, there is a beautiful Palestinian widow, who runs a lemon grove on the border of the occupied territories. She is modest, not at all political, and yet has a quiet determination and natural charisma. On the other side, the newly installed Minister of Defense for Israel moves into a house next to the lemon grove, bringing a security apparatus and personal power to the remote area. Suddenly, the lemon grove is called a security threat and he wants it cut down, in accordance with the secret service officers who are assigned to protect him. What ensues is a legal battle that becomes a political cause celebre.

Many viewers have criticized the film as anti-Israeli, but I disagree with that judgment on a number of levels. First, there are a number of full-blooded characters on the Israeli side, who struggle with what is happening. In particular the Minister's wife: she sees the situation, yet does not know what exactly she might do and struggles with it in spite of her husband's insensitivity. When she talks to a reporter, her actions lead to unforeseen consequences, which highlight many aspects of Israel's political system yet make no definitive statement and offers no unambiguous message. In my view, this is very much like what might happen in real life. Second, the Palestinian characters are also not at all simple: some are good, some not, and many are normal people trying to get through the day. While the woman is certainly a victim, there is nothing maudlin or tendentious about her struggle: it is realistic and she faces terrible odds. There is also a lawyer of good motives but questionable behavior and nosy, conservative neighbors.
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