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The Boston Globe



‘Zaytoun’: Finding common ground in ’80s Lebanon

There are plenty of geopolitically conscious reasons for taking a look at the Lebanon-set period drama “Zaytoun.” To remember the deadly, headlines-dominating conflict that gripped the Beirut region in the early ’80s, when the Lebanese civil war raged and Israel stood poised to invade. To consider the film’s intriguing what-if exploration of a friend-and-mentor bond between an orphaned Palestinian youth and an Israeli man in dire circumstances of his own.

Still, we’ve also got to admit right upfront: Part of our interest was simply to see what Stephen Dorff is doing playing an Israeli POW. Dorff’s go-to persona — unshaven stud with a grungy edge — has made an impression in credits stretching from “Blade” to “Public Enemies,” but it has also made for straight-to-video fodder like the subtly titled “Carjacked.” Would Dorff have it in him to play something presumably fairly layered? Or to do the accent?

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