Divine Intervention (2005)

Alternate/Foreign Title: Yadon ilaheyya [Original title]

DVD Released (Y/M/D): 2005-07-12

Genre: Foreign

Sub-genre: Drama

Director: Elia Suleiman

Stars: Elia Suleiman, Manal Khader, Amer Daher, Jamel Daher, Naeif Daher, Ahmad Ayadi, Samih Bathish, Ziad Daniel, George Ibrahim, Salwa Nakkara

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Synopsis: DIVINE INTERVENTION writer-director Elia Suleiman has been compared to Woody Allen and Charlie Chaplin, presumably because he has Allen's intelligent, self-deprecating humor and Chaplin's gift for silent comedy. DIVINE INTERVENTION is not a silent film, but an intensely quiet comedy about daily life in the West Bank and Israel. Suleiman provides a series of not-altogether-related vignettes of people choked with boredom and drained of compassion, such as an angry mob of adolescents stabbing Santa Claus, or the neighbor who throws garbage onto the property next door (and complains when its thrown back), or checkpoint soldiers who sing and dance, and look menacing doing so. Though there is no distinct protagonist in this atypical satire, the filmmaker plays himself returning to Nazareth to help his ailing, hospitalized father (Nayef Fahoum Daher). Between visits to the hospital, where patients chain smoke in the halls outside their rooms, Suleiman falls for a West Bank woman (Manal Khader). Restrictions force them to carry out their relationship with only some hand-holding in the parking lot of the Israeli checkpoint between their two cities. DIVINE INTERVENTION favors extended, slow-paced scenes that seem suspended in time until they are punctuated with supercharged Arabian dance music like Madonna producer Mirwais Ahmadazi's "Definitive Beat" or Natacha Atlas's unbelievable cover version of Screamin' Jay Hawkins's "I Put A Spell On You." Though the characters often seem too distracted by anxiety and anguish to really connect with one another, Suleiman's sense of humor giddily overrides all the darker messages here, as in the climactic sequence--reminiscent of Monty Python--in which armed men in choreographed unison shoot at a target outlined in the figure of a veiled woman and she refuses to capitulate.     Source: RottenTomatoes.com

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