Zaytoun

Film

War films

Zaytoun.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Thu Oct 11 2012

Instant scepticism is usually the response to celluloid suggestions that a cute kid with a winning smile can ease the ills of the world. Since this latest from Israeli director Eran Riklis (‘Lemon Tree’) posits a cautious rapprochement between a young Palestinian from a Beirut refugee camp and a downed Israeli pilot desperate to reach the border, it faces an uphill battle to convince the cynics. There’s certainly something of a feelgood fable about a story like this, yet ‘Zaytoun’ works hard for its credibility by insisting that both parties share the same goal – they want to go home.

Yoni the airman (Stephen Dorff, not overdoing the Israeli accent) is awaiting the birth of his first child, but for travelling companion Fahed (Abdallah El Akal, likable yet never cloying) his one-shot chance to head south means fulfilling his father’s dream of planting a stripling olive tree on the land their family lost during the founding of Israel. Poignantly, the title means ‘Olive’ in Arabic.

As in ‘Waltz with Bashir’, setting the drama during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon significantly ups the stakes, while the convincing recreation of war-torn Beirut helps draw us into the drama, weighing Fahed’s anger at Israeli air force destruction against his day-to-day fear of gun-toting Christian Phalangists picking off innocent Palestinians. Finding any kind of humanity amidst all this is a tall order, yet with a little humour, plenty of tension and willing performers, the assured Riklis turns in an effective, accessible picture never dewy-eyed about the wider political picture but firm in the belief that hope begins with individual decency.

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Release details

UK release:

2012

Duration:

107 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

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LiveReviews|15
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JOHN MUNIZ

the best move of the year i love the boy in this movie hes the best may god be with them all in this fillm 5 stars i give it .

JOHN MUNIZ

the best move of the year i love the boy in this movie hes the best may god be with them all in this fillm 5 stars i give it .

Norbert

A typical 'buddy' film -- two protagonists who start out hating one another are trapped together and become lump-in-the throat close friends. Impossible moment: The boy shoots down a high-speed Israeli jet with one shot from a rifle. Offensive stereotypes: the sleazy Lebanese clown with a hook nose; the malevolent Palestinians fighters; the arrogant cowardly Syrian officer. Above all, the well-shaved,charming Israelis about to invade Lebanon and kill some 20,000 civiliians.

robert robertson

this film prbably has good intentions but unfortunately it is clched and predictabe, superimposing a hackneyed hollywood staple plot on a totally innapropriate setting. the film's optimism is hardly appropriate knowing as we do how the Israeli military went on to allow the phalangist massacre in the refugee camp where the young boy lives and returns to at hte end of the film. knowing that inreal life this is what to come, prehaps the "feelgood" atmosphere of the film might not have felt quite so good. no mention of this historical fact is made at the end of the film. technically it is also rather predictable. sadly this film is not a patch on the "lemon tree".

pukkaman

Saw this last night, it was fantastic, great performances and beautifully shot...

pukkaman

Saw this last night, it was fantastic, great performances and beautifully shot...

Claire

I saw this at TIFF too. I loved this film, Riklis sets a simple story in a difficult time and place then tells it in such a gentle way. With hope, one must always have hope. It's a beautiful film, go see it. It will make you feel good.

Claire

I saw this at TIFF too. I loved this film, Riklis sets a simple story in a difficult time and place then tells it in such a gentle way. With hope, one must always have hope. It's a beautiful film, go see it. It will make you feel good.