The Lemon Tree reflects the pessimistic mood of the immediate post-Gulf War era in the Middle East in the early 1990s. Director Viola Shafik adapts a sad short story by the poet and former Arab League ambassador Ibrahim Shokrallah, inter-cutting it with stories from his life.
Shokrallah’s painful description of a family’s lemon tree which was cut down to build a house that would be put up for sale seems to anticipate the future ordeals of his own family—starting with the Egyptian military’s defeat in June of 1967.
Having returned to Egypt from Canada, Ibrahim's three children became involved in the leftist and anti-Zionist student movements of the early 1970s and were arrested and imprisoned. Shokrallah himself later resigned from the Arab League for political reasons.
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