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Palestinian director and performer Elia Suleiman
delivers a darkly comic masterpiece. Suleiman utilizes irreverence,
wit, mysticism and insight to craft an intense, hallucinogenic
and extremely adept exploration of the dreams and nightmares
of Palestinians and Israelis living in uncertain times.
Subtitled, "A Chronicle of Love and Pain,"
Divine Intervention follows ES, is
a character played by and clearly based upon the filmmaker himself.
ES is burdened with a sick father, a stalled screenplay and
an unrequited love affair with a beautiful Palestinian woman
(Manal Khader) living in Ramallah. An Israeli checkpoint on
the Nazareth-Ramallah road forces the couple to rendezvous in
an adjacent parking lot. Their relationship and the absurd situations
around them serve as metaphors for the lunacy of larger cultural
problems, and the result is palpable, bottled personal and political
Suleiman's wry chronicle sketches his hometown
of Nazareth as a place consumed by ferocious absurdity, where
residents harbor feuds, dump garbage into neighbors' yards,
and surreptitiously block access roads. Characters transgress
rules with abandon - stealing forbidden cigarette breaks in
a hospital corridor, for example. Yet the film's acerbic, absurdist
sense of humor (earning comparisons to Jacques Tati and Nanni
Moretti), in a situation where death seems to lurk at every
corner, and Suleiman's own eye-popping directorial interventions,
are what earned him the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes.
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