Palm Springs Reviews: ‘Fig Tree’

Variety | 1/8/2018 | Dennis Harvey
Click For Photo: https://pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/fig-tree.jpg?w=700&h=393&crop=1

It’s a question integral to much of the current international immigration debate: When war breaks out, who gets to flee and who’s left with nowhere to run? As a child, writer-director Aalam-Warqe Davidian was among a majority of Ethiopian Jews who emigrated to Israel. In her loosely autobiographical feature debut, a teenager facing similar circumstances — an escape to safety amid the nation’s civl war — becomes frantic with worry over loved ones who may not have the option of flight.

Like the deceptive calm before a gathering storm, and with elements of lyricism and typical adolescent coming-of-age intrigue, “Fig Tree” is a fine drama whose seemingly casual progress only heightens its ultimate impact. The universal appeal of this Israeli and European co-production figures to earn it the kind of arthouse exposure too seldom enjoyed by African features.

Judaism - Ethiopia - Century - Adherents - Periods

Judaism has existed in what is now Ethiopia perhaps as far back as the fourth century, its adherents enjoying periods of political independence that were a distant memory by the time a military coup ended Emperor Haile Selassie I’s reign in 1974. The new Communist government grew openly hostile toward Jews (and religion in general), triggering a tidal wave of emigration. By 1989, when Davidian’s tale takes place, securing such departures grew increasingly difficult. Meanwhile, citizens caught between the wobbling regime and guerrilla opposition movements became desperate to get out.

Palm Springs Review: 'The Realm'

Terror - Mother

with her terror that he and his mother may soon get left behind.

Grandma is negotiating passage for herself and Mina to Israel (where the girl’s mother already lives), something that, due to the vagaries of flights and official approval, might happen any day now. But Mina becomes ever more concerned that once they’ve left, the slick travel agent-****-fixer who’s pocketed their money will have no motivation to help Eli, no matter...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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