Director Eran Riklis discusses Zaytoun, about a young Palestinian refugee and an Israeli fighter pilot.
Yoni, an Israeli pilot, crash-lands in war-torn Beirut in the run-up to Israel’s ill-fated invasion of the country in 1982. He is captured by a group of fighters from the Palestine Liberation Organisation, one of whom is Fahed, a young orphan and refugee, who longs to return to his family’s home. Yoni and Fahed soon find themselves on the run from rival militias as their unlikeliest of friendships begins to take root in the most extreme of circumstances. Israeli director Eran Riklis (The Syrian Bride; Lemon Tree) avoids sentimental clichés thanks to a wonderful performance from Abdallah El Akal as the wise-beyond-his-years Fahed and some sweeping cinematography that will remind viewers of the irony – and tragedy – that such a beautiful land can be the theatre of such horrific conflict.