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FOR CRYING OUT ALLOWED: LEMON TREE

Director: ERAN RIKLIS

ISRAEL-GERMANY-FRANCE • 2008 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 35MM • 106 MIN


FOR PARENTS MAROONED WITH THEIR BABIES, STARVED OF THE CHANCE TO SEE EXCELLENT FILMS FOR MONTHS ON END, COMES FOR CRYING OUT ALLOWED. ONCE A MONTH, THE IFI WILL PUT ON A SPECIAL SCREENING FOR PARENTS-WITH BABIES.
Simply bring your bundle with you, park your buggy or pram with us, and enjoy the best film we have on that week. As the title suggests, there is no need to worry about the noise. Baby-changing facilities are provided, and we have a cafe for lunch afterwards. Babies must be 12 months or younger, and adults pay normal admission price. RESERVATIONS STRICTLY REQUIRED: 01-6795744

DECEMBER SCREENING: LEMON TREE

THIS CAPTIVATING ISRAELI FILM OFFERS A TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE OF HOW TO TREAT POLITICAL CONFLICT ON-SCREEN, TAKING A REAL-LIFE INCIDENT AS THE STARTING POINT OF A STORY WHICH ENCAPSULATES ITS DIVIDED NATION, THEN APPROACHING IT WITH AN ASTUTE EVEN-HANDEDNESS TO DRAW IN VIEWERS OF EVERY STRIPE.
On the border of the West Bank, a Palestinian household has tended their lemon grove for generations, but when the Israeli Defence Minister (Doron Tavory) moves in just the other side of the perimeter, his guards decide that the trees constitute a security risk and must be chopped down. Fortysomething widow Salma (Hiam Abbass, the wonderful Palestinian actress from Tom McCarthy’s The Visitor) is determined to protect her family’s heritage however, and makes the decision to engage an over-worked local lawyer (Ali Suliman) to tackle the full might of the Israeli state in court.
Israeli director Eran Riklis’ film, co-written by Palestinian journalist Suha Arraf, is also about wider issues beyond this admittedly engrossing legal mismatch, exposing both the vulnerable position of a lone woman in Arab society and following the development of a surprising complicity between Salma and her opposite number — the Minister’s increasingly sceptical spouse (Rona Lipaz-Michael). Beautifully acted by all concerned, and never hectoring, the film offers an honest assessment of the current state of Palestinian-Israeli relations, but at a human rather than political level. There’s hope too, and glimmerings of understanding, yet Riklis is also realist enough to work his way towards a powerfully sobering final image. Provocative and satisfying cinema, make no mistake. — Trevor Johnston.

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