CLINTON – Borrowing the name of a television series produced by the Iowa dioceses and Knights of Columbus in the ‘70s, Prince of Peace Pax Christi is mounting a four-part film series that debuts Tuesday, Nov. 9 with a screening of “Lemon Tree.”
The Israeli film is about Salma, a Palestinian widow, who stands up to her new neighbor, the Israeli Defense Minister, when he moves into his new house opposite her lemon grove on the green line between Israel and the West Bank. The award-winning 2008 film puts a very human face on the age-old struggle for safe haven in the Holy Land.
The movie night will begin at 7 p.m. at The Canticle, home of the Sisters of St. Francis, 841 13th Ave. N., Clinton. The event is free and open to the public. It includes discussion of the issue of Middle East peace and is accompanied by popcorn and lemonade!
The local chapter of Pax Christi, the international Catholic peace movement, has been actively promoting peaceful means of conflict resolution and active nonviolence in the Clinton area for five years. Each year during Lent, they sponsor Peace Soup, offering a free soup supper and discussion around peace themes. This is their first attempt at a film series.
“We are excited about the film series,” said Pax Christi member Gabriela Egging. “For any of us to be moved to take action on behalf of the very serious social justice issues of our day, those issues have to mean something to us. They have to touch our lives as they touch and sometimes destroy the lives of our brothers and sisters around the world. We hope that these films, using both drama and stark reality, will bring these issues home to each one who sees them.”
“Lemon Tree,” according to director Eran Riklis, “is a simple story about people who find themselves fighting over matters that could have been resolved quite easily if they would just listen to each other. But simple expectations are a big step … and the environment in this particular region, not to mention the burden of history, blood and religion, do not make understanding easy.”
The film focuses on the solitude faced by Salma, the Palestinian, and Mira Navon, the Israeli Defense Minister’s wife who represent so many issues and who both suffer from a deep loneliness on both a personal and national level. Salma goes all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court to save her trees, and her struggle captures the interest of Mira, who is trapped in her new home and in an unhappy life. The two women develop an invisible bond while forbidden ties grow stronger between Salma and her young Palestinian lawyer, Ziad.
Salma’s legal and personal journey lead her deep into the complex, dark and sometimes funny chaos of the ongoing struggle in the Middle East, in which all players find themselves alone in their struggle to survive.
“We hope that sharing the movie and then sharing our reactions to it will help all of us to better understand the sad and complicated state of affairs in the Middle East,” said Sister Teresa Kunkel, OSF, who, with Sister Joan Theiss, OSF, will lead the follow-up discussion on Tuesday evening.
Subsequent Pax Christi movie nights at The Canticle will feature “The People Speak” on Jan. 11; “Blue Gold: World Water Wars” on Feb. 8, and “Speaking Freely: Volume 1 – John Perkins on Globalization” on March 1. For more information call Sisters of St. Francis, (563) 242-7611 or visit www.clintonfranciscans.com – Current Events.