The Lemon Tree
I enjoyed the film “The Lemon Tree” very much. The film revolves around the same themes that are presented in previous films we've watched in the class but on a smaller scale. It was directed by Israeli filmmaker Eran Riklis who also directed the film Syrian Bride which similarly to this film touches on the theme of Israeli and Arab relations and tensions over their shared borders. Both of Riklis's films the most about the current state of Israeli and Arab relations , Lemon Tree and Syrian Bride, share similar themes. In both films , the protagonist is a woman, coincidentally it is the same actress in both films. In both movies there is a feminist aspect as both films portray the difficult situations of two females Salma and Mira, and how they defy the patriarchal norms and oppression.
The film is very powerful because it demonstrates that despite this huge conflict going on between these two groups of people on a large scale, when it comes down to a very small scale such as neighbors on opposite sides of the border, sometimes there are glimpses of common ground or mutual understanding. Although the Israeli minister of defense does have tremendous disliking and mistrust for the Arabs, his wife, Mira in her solace, feels empathy for Salma and understands her situation. Mira, upon carefully observing Salma comes to realize they are both very much similar as they are both lonely and oppressed. Mira is very much impressed with Salma's integrity and through her empathy Salma finds the courage to keep fighting for her grove. I found this to be extremely poignant as it shows the audience that these boundaries or borders that we as humans often establish to create distance and differences are quite stupid. Deep down were all alike and should focus on solving larger issues together instead of discriminating against each other. The film although takes place in a geopolitical context is much simpler than that. It is simply about a peaceful but strong Arab woman who is trying to protect her grove that is of family value. There is no dispute over religion or violence. Salma's dilemma is universal no matter where it is which is why Mira sympathizes with her and we come to realize that in the end we just want to coexist peacefully and comfortably but often our lack of willingness to communicate gets in the way.
The film was executed quite well. It was a very enjoyable film. Riklas used a very simple premise to try and decipher all the misunderstanding and solve a very complex problem going on in the Middle East by removing all the extra layers of confusion that cause differences and distance among us and showing the most basic common level we can all understand. This film goes to show that we need to be less paranoid and embrace each others cultures. Especially in the Middle East. As opposed to walls, guards, guns, etc. being placed on borders to keep intruders out, there needs to be more Salmas and Miras that would definitely change the current state of things for the better.