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From award-winning Israeli director Eran Riklis, Zaytoun is the story of Yoni and Fahed, two exiles from a divided land.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.


  • Director Eran Riklis
  • Producer Gareth Unwin, Frederick Ritzenberg
  • Screenwriter Nader Rizq
  • With Stephen Dorff, Abdallah El Akal, Ali Suliman
  • UK-Israel 2012
  • 107 mins
  • 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. 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.
Ali Jaafar

Director statement

Zaytoun is a road movie, a war movie, a buddy movie. I wanted it to be serious and yet full of humour, realistic and yet a fantasy, true to the region and yet universal. I believe the result is all of the above with my view of the fragile, explosive, pessimistic, seldom optimistic fabric of the Middle East and its never ending conflicts.
Eran Riklis

Director biography

A 1982 graduate of the National Film School in Beaconsfield, he had previously studied at the film department of Tel Aviv University. He made his feature debut in 1984 with the political thriller On a Clear Day You Can See Damascus, while his follow-up, Cup Final, was the biggest Israeli box-office success of the 90s. Since 2004 (when The Syrian Bride was named Best Film at Montreal and Audience Favourite at Locarno), most of his features have attracted international co-production finance. The Human Resources Manager, an Israeli-French-German co-production, was shot in Jerusalem and Romania, and won five Israeli Academy Awards (including Best Picture and Best Director).


1984 B’Yom Bahir Ro’im et Dameshek (On a Clear Day You Can See Damascus)
1992 Gmar Gavi’a (Cup Final)
1993 Zohar
1999 Tzomet Volkan (Volcano Junction)
2002 Vegvul Natan (Borders) [doc]; Pituy (Temptation)
2004 Ha-Kala Ha-Surit (The Syrian Bride)
2008 Etz Limon (Lemon Tree)
2010 Shlihuto shel Ha'Memuneh al Mash'abey Enosh (The Human Resources Manager)
2011 A Soldier and a Boy [s]; Playoff
2012 Zaytoun

Read the Time Out review.

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