Zaytoun (2013)

In 1982, amid the Lebanese Civil War, Israeli pilot Yoni (Stephen Dorff) is shot down over Beirut and is taken prisoner by inhabitants of a Palestinian refugee camp. Among the captors is ten-year-old Fahed, whose father obsessively tends to… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: September 20, 2013
DVD Release Date: April 8, 2013
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Critic Score: 47% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: It has a lot on its mind, including a timely storyline with real-world significance; unfortunately, Zaytoun's reach exceeds its grasp, partly due to the presence of a miscast Stephen Dorff.

Tom Russo
Boston Globe

We've ... got to admit right up front: Part of our interest was simply to see what Stephen Dorff is doing playing an Israeli POW.

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John Anderson

A trek that is occasionally very unlikely, but moving nonetheless.

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Jordan Hoffman
Times of Israel

Spoken plainly, the olives of Zaytoun are bland to the taste.

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Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle

It's probably best viewed as a fable that tries to strike a hopeful note amid the many woes of the Middle East, but the blunt filmmaking and the near-sentimentality make it hard to buy into.

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Robert Abele
Los Angeles Times

It's just all too breezy to have any real effect.

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Louis Proyect

Despite its "The Defiant Ones" liberal Zionist pieties, there's solid drama and performances.

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Tom Long
Detroit News

The resolution is a bit Hollywood, but then who says all films about the Middle East have to be relentlessly grim? "Zaytoun" dares to find common ground and hope amidst political confusion.

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John Anderson

Given how much Zaytoun follows the playbook, the pic's portentous ending is extraordinarily subtle, and will resonate best with those who know the history of the region.

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Jared Eisenstat
Film Comment Magazine

Zaytoun is relatively successful in tiptoeing through the political minefield of the subject matter, and it offers out the promise of hope and possibility without raising expectations.

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