At the center of the Middle East conflict, hearts beat in tragic comedy and deadpan irony: a sexy young Palestinian woman defies Israeli soldiers and struts through a check-point as if it were the catwalk of a fashion show... more », 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, a Palestinian collaborator casually extinguishes his firebombed house on a daily basis, and a female ninja descends from the sky, holding the map of ?Palestine? as her battle shield. These are but a few of the provocative images that filmmaker Elia Suleiman puts forth in his critically-acclaimed satire chronicling the absurdities of life and love on both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli border, DIVINE INTERVENTION.« less
Sarah Bellum | Dublin, OH United States | 01/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie certainly makes its points in dramatic (i.e. tragic and humorous) fashion. Most of the people in this movie repeat the same, monotonous deeds every single day, always with the same stoic, blank expressions. Their lives have been so affected by the terrible situation of life in Israel and Palestine that they have become inured to its heartrending circumstance. The filmmaker uses humor to absurdly illustrate how inhumane the entire situation is: drivers are forced at the checkpoint (and at gunpoint) to arbitrarily trade cars with one another, merely on the whim of one of the checkpoint guards. They are berated verbally and treated as children or animals, simply for wanting to access a certain destination. Familiar though it all is, we want to cry over these indignities; yet, the way the film is made we are given permission to laugh at the absurdity of it. Two elderly men sit silently and passively as an eccentric man defends his house from neighbors by creating a pothole to halt his car. The apparent apathy the two elderly men display belies what the two have undoubtedly experienced during their lifetimes. None of this surprises them, nor does it compare to the worst they have seen. My guess would be their attitude appears to mirror that of the filmmaker. The director seems to have moved beyond feeling angered by the situation to a feeling of despair. Perhaps this is why the only resistance in the film takes the form of either humor or fantasy. No point in fighting. No realistic hope to overcome. Life is futile. Only thing to do is laugh. Although I enjoyed watching the film, it took quite some time for me to adjust my viewing style to that of the film. I am so used to the instant gratification and transparency of most US and western world films; this film takes it time in making its points and makes the viewer work a little for the rewards it does offer. It is so deliberate that after a while I began to wonder if it would ever get around to making a point, yet it left me thinking about it afterward and liking it more and more as I did. While probably not for everyone, I would recommend this film for those seeking something entirely substantially different. Not very many extras on the DVD, though there is an interview with the director and the transfer is very good."
OCCUPATION thru the lens of SURREALITY!
Desertwriter | 06/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A comic tragic love story set in the midst of long term occupation of Palestine...with the beautiful dead-pan of protagonist/director Elia Suleiman. A film that integrates into one's neurons and gut, makes one laugh out loud and sigh with despair...nearly all at the same time! I've watched this film so many times, never tiring of its "under your skin" connection even at the most absurd moments. I began watching it with a Western analytical approach but soon learned that this story MUST be appreciated slowly from the heart and soul..it then seeps into all the pours and cells to a clarity that only a "parable" could deliver. A superb soundtrack!"
A Must See
Raed A. Sabha | USA | 08/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Everyone (wether he/she is pro Palestine or pro israel) should watch this movie. With the exception of few scenes, the movie reflects the daily life of Palestinians under the israeli occupation."
Hussain Abdul-Hussain | Washington,DC USA | 02/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This excellent film depicts the life of the Palestinians under occupation. Viewers must keep in mind that this film was a joint production of more than one group, including an Israeli cultural fund. This is not to discredit the work. On the contrary, Elia Suleiman makes the most of his resources as he tells the story of occupation. Such occupation, according to Suleiman, has bred so much frustration among Palestinians that has resulted in their most-of-the--time incomprehensible behavior and redundant routine. In the movie, you will see short-fused Palestinians using foul language all the time while driving, chain smoking even inside hospitals, throwing garbage at each others house garden space and so on. The downside of the film, however, was its surreal dimension which was most of the time unexplainable. When Suleiman throws an apricot on an Israeli tank causing it to explode or when a balloon with Arafat's picture on it travels over Jerusalem all the way over the Dome of the Rock are all scenes that seem to be irrelevant. Surrealism hits a peak when, during a training session for a group of Israeli commandos, Palestine appears in the shape of Jesus and a consequent ninja battle ensues. Again, such surreal scenes were most of the time out of context for an average viewer. Yet, the movie is one of a kind on the market and all those who are interested in learning about some Palestinian daily life should consult this work."
"That's Enough. Stop It Now" ~ The Urgent Need For A Lasting
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 07/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Synopsis: The film begins with Santa Claus (or a Gentile dressed as Santa) running frantically up a hill in Nazareth with three teenage Arab boys chasing him with the intention of killing this universally recognized symbol of the Christian faith (or more specifically the United States).
A man makes frequent trips out his front door carrying a bag of trash which he throws over the fence into his neighbor's garden. When he spots the neighbor throwing the debris back into his yard he confronts her and lectures her on personal responsibility and communication skills.
A red balloon adorned with the face of Yasser Arafat floats over an Israeli check point, into the old city of Jerusalem, landing atop the Dome of the Rock mosque.
Critique: These are just a few of the surreal, symbolist sequences presented by director Elia Suleiman in the '02 message movie `Divine Intervention'. I didn't know anything about this movie before viewing it except that it dealt with the ongoing social/political situation in the Middle East.
From the title I mistakenly assumed that it was going to be presented from the Jewish perspective. However once into the film I found it personally and profoundly relevant and somewhat disturbing to discover that the hope and longing for "Divine Intervention" doesn't solely reside in the arena of the Christian and Jewish faiths. The fact that I hadn't considered the possibility that the Arab community hopes and dreams for the same thing was humbling and somewhat telling.
`Divine Intervention" opened my mind to the realization of my spiritual/political myopia and if for no other reason that fact makes this film worth viewing. It does move along too slowly for the American audience and the surreal, symbolist nature of the storyline will not attract a large following of avid viewers. Be that as it may the Palestinian angst and anger is magnificently conveyed and the image of the pot on the stove about to boil over sends a message of urgency and concern that we ignore at our own peril."