News “From the watering of the lemon tree” by Elia...

“From the watering of the lemon tree” by Elia Suleiman in the cinema


ein piece of land in front of the door, on which a lemon tree grows, is very lucky. It could almost be enough for a good life – if it weren’t for the neighbor who always uses the fruit when you step into the garden yourself. And if it weren’t for the whole world around you: this strange chaos, a collection of the strangest characters who, it seems to the protagonist’s eyes, only do incomprehensible things.

Elia Suleiman is the man who looks at all of this. Always slightly surprised, the big eyes alternating between amusement and gloom, with a three-day beard, glasses and a hat on his head. He doesn’t speak, just opens his mouth to say something: “Nazareth.” It is his answer to the question of his country of origin, and he adds, “I am a Palestinian.”

Suleiman wanders around in his new film “From the Watering of the Lemon Tree” in an equally apathetic and sympathetic manner. In the original it is called “It Must Be Heaven” and is only allegorical about the tree that is literally rooted in its land and raises the question of how much its inhabitants are or can be. Instead, he turns to the small, quiet moments and lets them see the big, loud. In vignettes that can remind you of sketches by Jacques Tati or Buster Keaton, but have something more wistful about them, Suleiman creates a mosaic of the present. So his alter ego, like the director during his life, travels from Nazareth to Paris, then to New York and eventually back to the vicinity of the lemon tree.

Burlesque in perfectly arranged scenes

He is not a sad clown, rather a thoughtful one. Life happens to him wherever he goes, and he just has to look at it, mostly motionless with melancholy eyes, as if his presence was the keyword for all sorts of scenarios. In his field of vision, the stage on which encounters, persecutions and conversations take place is always funny, weird and strange. The world flows in on him, Suleiman in the middle: smoking, sitting, strolling, walking. He himself seems almost invisible. In one scene, a bunch of teenagers first run towards him and then pass him by as if he didn’t exist. With a coffee cup, lemonade, wine glass or schnapps on the table in front of him, Suleiman is sure of himself as the reclusive observer.



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