From award-winning Israeli director Eran Riklis, Zaytoun is the story of Yoni and Fahed, two exiles from a divided land.
Director Eran Riklis
Producer Gareth Unwin, Frederick Ritzenberg
Screenwriter Nader Rizq
With Stephen Dorff, Abdallah El Akal, Ali Suliman
Sales Pathé International
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 in Northern Israel. 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; The 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.
You will recall the real story:
Ron Arad was born on May 5, 1958 in Israel...Arad, an air-force navigator in an F-4 Phantom jet...On October 6, 1986 Arad was captured by members of the Amal Shi’ite militia after bailing out of his crippled warplane over the Lebanese city of Sidon.
About a year after his capture, Israel received photographs and letters from Arad’s captors, and Arad’s case quickly attracted the attention of the international community...When negotiations for Arad’s release collapsed in 1988, Arad was “sold” by Amal security chief Mustafa Dirani to Iranian backed forces in Lebanon. Since that time there has been a great deal of contradictory information regarding his fate and whereabouts. Israeli intelligence sources have maintained that Arad is being held in Iran or Lebanon by Iranian backed forces. The Iranians have never publicly admitted to holding Arad or to having any information regarding his condition or location. Over the years many foreign governments have pressured Iran on the matter. Particularly the German government has continually attempted to utilize its close relationship with Iran to broker deals for Arad’s release, but without success to date. Arad’s case continues to haunt the Israeli public.
Oh, the other entry:
To Fill the Void:
Set in an Orthodox Hassidic community in Tel Aviv, this riveting debut feature tells the story of eighteen-year-old Shira, the youngest daughter of a deeply religious family who is about to be married off in a promising match to a young man she does not know. When an unexpected death occurs, grief engulfs the family and Shira’s impending liaison is postponed. Caught between an overwhelming sense of familial responsibility and the unfamiliar sensation of romantic yearning, Shira faces a choice that will ultimately define her future. Director Rama Burshtein draws on her own knowledge of Orthodox practice and its rituals, imbuing this singular film with great authenticity especially in her attention to gender division within the community and the relationships between the female protagonists. The visual design oscillates between intimate and suffocating, with cinematographer Asaf Sudry (Beaufort) keeping the camera close to the actors and tightly framed, while art director Ori Aminov adopts a studied, muted palette. Hadas Yaron’s mesmerising performance gives full expression to Shira’s struggle between moral, ethical and emotional truth, her suspended state of uncertainty providing the film with its dramatic tension and continuing to reverberate in the indelible final image.
And she is not an actress.
She's the director of the film.
'Fill the Void,' a film by Rama Burshtein, gets rave reports in Variety magazine, Hollywood Reporter and Screen Daily, while Indiewire website is less impressed.