Palestine, France, Morocco, Germany

Synopsis

In Nazareth, under a guise of banal normalcy, the town embraces folly. Under pressure from his failing business, a man takes matters into his own hands and tries to break a chain reaction of petty feuds. He breaks down himself. The man is E.S.' father. A love story takes place between a Palestinian man living in Jerusalem and a Palestinian woman from Ramallah. The man - E.S. - shifts between his ailing father and his love life, trying to keep both alive. Because of the political situation, the woman's freedom of movement ends at the Israeli army checkpoint between the two cities. Barred from crossing, the lovers' intimate encounters take place on a deserted lot right beside the checkpoint. The lovers are unable to exempt reality from occupation. They are unable to preserve their intimacy in the face of a siege. A complicity of solemn desire begins to generate violent repercussions and against the odds, their angry hearts counter-attack with spasms of spectacular fantasy.

Director's Statement

We, Palestinians living in Israel, are the shy ones. The inhibited. We act as it we were closet-case Palestinians. Our Palestinian sisters and brothers in the West Bank and Gaza generally ignite uprisings first, and then we join in, but not without our additional original ghetto aesthetics of Israeli department store burning. lt is our sisters and brothers who keep reminding us of our silent and tragic existence. But the ritual lasts only a short while. We lose a few souls and the uprising loses momentum. Then, dead quiet again. There is a reason why, we reason. We do not show our dark side because our dark side is the darkest of them all. It's a fear that our dark side is transgressive to extremities of unknown territories and where that might lead us. It's the fear, partial suspicion and even unconscious certainty that it would lead to the black hole: the either we/and/or Israel no longer. A grave loss of gravity; a Toho Vavoho as described in the Old Testament, a chaos similar to the one talked about in the beginning of the world. Israel knows that, Israel knows: This, or give up. Or turn truly democratic. Or give Us up. This and that, Israel refuses to face.
So every time, right before Nazareth screams as Samson did, "Upon me and my enemies, my Lord," Israel comes in to do a little hair trimming.
A number of actors, who acted in the film I am presently working on, are Israelis. They acted as soldiers on a checkpoint. I auditioned them in a casting agency in Tel Aviv. One by one, the auditioners entered. They sat on a couch, and I sat opposite in an armchair. I asked each and every one of them if they served in the army; if they ever served on a checkpoint, if they ever asked for IDs. If they ever arrested a Palestinian, and if they ever beat up one. Except for the last act, there were the basic criteria in order to qualify for the role. The auditioners were put in a very ambivalent position. To get the part, they had to show their best to the director, meaning that they could convincingly do evil to Palestinians. But then this director is himself a Palestinian; he is one of Them! Meaning - evildoing to Palestinians might not win them the part.

Director's Biography

Elia Suleiman was born in 1960 in Nazareth. He moved to New York in 1981, where he lived until 1993. White in the United States, he frequently served as a guest lecturer in many universities, art institutions and museums. Meanwhile, he directed his first two short films, " Introduction to the End of an Argument ", and " Homage by Assassination ", winning widespread recognition and numerous awards.
Elia Suleiman has received various awards and grants, including an ITV's and a Ford Foundation grant. He was the recipient of the Rockefeller Award for work achievement. His essays and articles have been published in English, Arabic and French.
In 1994, Elia Suleiman moved to Jerusalem, where the European Commission asked him to initiate a Film and Media department at Bir Zeit University.
In 1996, he completed his first feature film " Chronicle of a Disappearance ", which won the Best First Film Prize at the Venice Film Festival.
" Divine Intervention " is his second feature film.

Filmography:

1991 INTRODUCTION TO THE END OF AN ARGUMENT
1992 HOMAGE BY ASSASSINATION
1996 CHRONICLE OF A DISAPPEARANCE
1998 THE ARAB DREAM
2000 CYBER PALESTINE
2002 DIVINE INTERVENTION

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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Elia Suleiman

Written by: Elia Suleiman

Produced by: Humbert Balsan

Cinematography: Marc-André Batigne

Editing: Veronique Lange

Main Cast: Elia Suleiman (E.S.), Manal Khader (The Woman), Nayef Fahoum Daher (The Father)

Nominations and Awards

  • Screen International Award (for a non-European film) 2002