Starring Hiam Abbass, Doron Tavory, Ali Suliman and Rona Lipaz-Michael. Written by Suha Arraf and Eran Riklis. Directed by Eran Riklis. Not rated. Now playing at the Landmark Maple Art Theatre.
When an Israeli Defense Minister moves into a fancy house right on the border with the West Bank, a security fence away from a 50-year-old lemon grove and farmhouse belonging to a Palestinian woman, someone’s bound to get some citrus in their eye.
Israeli filmmaker Eran Riklis (“The Syrian Bride”) and co-writer Suha Arraf bring the story of Salma Zidane (Hiam Abbass of “The Visitor”), a Palestinian widow who stands up against her new neighbor, the newly elected defense minister (Doron Tavary), when his security officials want to uproot the trees she inherited from her father.
Abbass won an Israeli Academy Award for her performance.
Based on an actual Israeli court case, the film follows Zidane in her heart-wrenching struggle. The defense minister’s wife, Mira Navon (Rona Lipaz-Michael), struggles to deal with sympathy for her neighbor while staying loyal to her husband and to the Jewish state.
Aside from a strangely misplaced love angle thrown into the plot, the film effectively uses metaphor, imagery and subtle humor to incite rage and empathy, digging into the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
For viewers less familiar with the issue, the film will move, enlighten and stir outrage.
For those affected by the conflict, peace advocates and most Arab Americans, the film may cause heart attacks.
Landmark spokespeople said the film will play at least through June 4 at the Maple Art Theatre, 4135 West Maple Road in Bloomfield Hills.