These Mean Streets Are In Beirut

Eran Riklis’ ‘Zaytoun’ is an homage to Martin Scorsese.
09/16/2013 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

It would not surprise me if the daily reviews for “Zaytoun,” Eran Riklis’ new film which opens on Sept. 20, chide the Israeli filmmaker for sentimentalizing the film’s central relationship. The movie traces the slowly growing friendship between Yoni (Stephen Dorff), a downed Israeli flyer, and his erstwhile captor Fahed (Abdallah El Akal), a 12-year-old Palestinian refugee who helps him escape captivity during the first Lebanon War. As the pair move from open enmity to tough love and eventually to mutual respect, it would be easy to overlook the intelligent emotional distance with which Riklis treats them, to mistake the film for an easy celebration of the Rodney King-can’t-we-all-get-along school of ineffectual good will.

Abdallah El Akal and Stephen Dorff in “Zaytoun.”
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