Country: Israel / UK
Review: “Zaytoun” is set in Beirut, Lebanon, and depicts an improbable cooperation and friendship between Fahed, a12 year-old Palestinian refugee who becomes an orphan, and Yoni, a sensitive Israeli pilot whose plane was shot down. The initial mistrust between them will change after they decide to help each other in order to cross the border to return to their homes. Eran Riklin, who directed two emblematic and interesting films about the Arab-Israeli conflict, “The Syrian Bride” and “The Lemon Tree”, was able to show Fahed’s loss of innocence and thirst for revenge, although as a whole this sentimental story did not seem so credible. Some scenes and conversations were just meant to push out the viewers' emotions, being sometimes manipulative and unconvincing. The plot, written by debutant Nader Rizq, didn’t catch me, while Rikli’s direction and the acting by Stephen Dorff and the young Abdallah El Akal, were competent. Among pale colors and destroyed landscapes, “Zaytoun” gives a completely different perspective of the conflict, gathering all the conditions to affect us in a positive way, but its urge in sensitize our hearts led to a sensation of falseness.