Lemon Tree (PG)

Eran Riklis (106 mins), starring Hiam Abbass, Doron Tavory, Ali Suliman, Rona Lipaz-Michael
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The Independent Culture

Hiam Abbass, one of the great faces of cinema, plays Salma, a Palestinian widow who entrains a legal battle when her new neighbour, the Israeli defence minister, orders her lemon grove to be uprooted – a family inheritance to her, but a shelter for terrorists according to his security service. Writer-director Eran Riklis uses this border dispute to reflect the Israeli government's divisive policies of containment, yet his film also subtly comments on the antagonisms between men and women, both in Salma's tentative romance with her young lawyer (Ali Suliman), and in the character of the minister's wife (Rona Lipaz-Michael), who shows rather more sympathy for her Palestinian neighbour than her husband would like. Lemon Tree offers no solution to the ancient struggles of ownership in the West Bank, but it shines a tender, humane light on the individual lives it continues to disrupt.

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