Lemon Tree

This film offers a slice of life amongst the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I think a lot of the film is lost on Western viewers. For example the issue of compensation and the strong Palestinian belief that they cannot take Israeli money. While the government is unfairly removing her grove I don’t see the reason for the extremely strong emotion evoked in Salma. This is probably a mixture of things lost in translation, cultural differences and the fact that I have never cared about something that much in my life. Whatever the case the film failed to deliver that emotion to me and I found myself not caring about the trees and annoyed at her continued opposition.
There was a photo on the wall of Salma’s late husband that appeared a lot. I don’t know if it was the intention, but it got a laugh every time there would be a straight cut to it. It reminded me of a scene in Bend It Like Beckham where there is a cut to a portrait of Babaji on the wall with the intent of being funny. I’m not so convinced that the humor of those numerous photo cuts in Lemon Tree were intended to be funny, but rather another cultural difference.
The characters spoke random English at times such as “off the record” which reminded me a lot of Japanese media, where they regularly use English in sentences that don’t often make sense (e.g. “crazy shining love”).
The film did have a rather realistic end which was partially satisfying, as it would be incredibly unbelievable for her to defeat the government. He relationship also seemed quite impossible, given the social stigma attached and seemed right that it did not work out, even if it was a little bitter and sad.

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March 18, 2009. Film Festival.

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