B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany presents a screening of “Lemon Tree,” a 2008 Israeli allegory about the lengths that a Palestinian widow must go through to stop the Israeli defense minister, her neighbor, from destroying the lemon grove that her family has cultivated for generations.
“Lemon Tree” will be shown Saturday, Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m. at B’nai Sholom, 420 Whitehall Road, Albany, New York. (Note: this is a new date; original screening was postponed.) Refreshments will be available. Suggested contribution: $5.
Set in the West Bank, “Lemon Tree” tells of Salma Zidane, who ekes out a meager living tending to her trees. When Israeli Defense Minister Israel Navon and his wife move in across the way, his security guards demand that Salma remove the trees, which could shelter terrorists. The defense minister’s new home sits on the Israeli side next to the dividing line. Refusing to bow down, Salma seeks help but gets nowhere with the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli army. In desperation, she engages a lawyer, Ziad Daud, to take her case to the Israeli Supreme Court, which brings international attention. As the trees start dying while the court deliberates, the defense minister’s wife looks on with sympathy for Salma.
“Lemon Tree” was directed by Israeli filmmaker Eran Riklis, whose 2004 movie “The Syrian Bride” looked at tensions along the Israeli-Arab border. With “Lemon Tree,” Riklis presents a positive and personal view that offers an understated and thought-provoking vision of the West Bank troubles.
Riklis’ critically acclaimed “Lemon Tree” won the “Panorama Audience Award” at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival, “Best Performance by an Actress” and “Best Screenplay” at the 2008 Asia Pacific Screen Awards, and the Women Film Critics Circle awarded it “Best Female Images in a Movie” in 2009. The New York Times named it a 2009 “NYT Critic’s Pick,” while The Washington Post called it a “powerful film.”
The 106-minute film is in Hebrew, English and Arabic with English subtitles.