Films from Past Years/ Divine Intervention
France | Narrative Feature | 2002 | 90 min
Sponsored By: Burlington-Bethlehem-Arad Sister City Project
Director: Elia Suleiman
Awards: Grand Jury Prize – Cannes 2002; Fipresci Prize – Cannes 2002
An irreverent, ironic take on Palestinian life in Palestine/Israel is strewn with poignant insights into coping in a divided society. Suleiman plays himself returning to Nazareth to help his ailing, hospitalized father. Between visits to the hospital, where patients chain smoke in the halls outside their rooms, Suleiman falls for a Palestinian woman with whom he conducts his romantic tryst in the unlikely setting of the car park at an Israeli checkpoint. The scenes seem suspended in time until they are punctuated with supercharged Arabian dance music. The film is charged with deadpan irony: Santa Claus is chased up the sun-drenched hills of Nazareth by a gang of knife-wielding school kids, Israeli police use a blindfolded prisoner to provide directions to tourists in Jerusalem and a female ninja descends from the sky, holding the map of ‘Palestine’ as her battle shield. Suleiman utilizes wit, mysticism and insight to craft an intense, hallucinogenic and extremely personal exploration of the dreams and nightmares of Palestinians and Israelis.