Sunday 22 March 2009

Call for Israeli boycott at Ross screening

Controversy at Ross last night following a capacity screening of Lemon Tree, the film about a disputed lemon grove on the Israeli Palestine border.

Dr Jill Donnelly and Kyrle from the Herefordshire Palestine Solidarity Group made the plea for a boycott on Israeli goods during a question and answer session about the film. One audience member condemned the hypocrisy of watching a movie which, he pointed out, was partly made by Israeli filmmakers, but promoter William Hazelton, who chose the film after reading reviews, defended the screening. "A film like this brings the heart of the problem right into our small town."

Colleague Dr John Davies added this was precisely one of Borderlines' strengths, "It’s an excellent Festival because we see films we do not usually get to see." Borderlines serves a rural area roughly the size of London which supports only two full-time cinemas.

Our press officer, Bill Laws, described the film as "sharply observed". It's based on a real incident involving an elderly Palestinian woman who refused to have her olive grove destroyed to protect the security of the then Israeli Minister of Defence and took the issue to the Supreme Court. Director Eran Riklis describes Israeli directors working today as mavericks; it's a profession that increasingly does not allow for apolitical views. "We cannot live in a bubble," he says, "It's a difficult place, a difficult country, difficult relationships with the surrounding countries and we hve to deal with it. I think it's our duty in a way." Listen to the Guardian Film Weekly podcast that features him talking about Lemon Tree and his previous work, his commitment to painting a story in "lots of colours" instead of just black and white.

There are two chances to catch Lemon Tree at The Courtyard in Hereford on Tuesday 31 March, 8.30pm and Thursday 2 April at 6.15pm.

1 comment:

John said...

One of the excellent things about the Borderlines Festival is that it is not afraid to screen films on controversial topics. I plan to see this film next week. Previous films about Israel-Palestine at the festival have been good.