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Divine Intervention

3.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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(Jul 12, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

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, 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.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Ahmad Ayadi, Samih Bathish, Amer Daher, Daher Daher, Ziad Daniel
  • Directors: Elia Suleiman
  • Writers: Elia Suleiman
  • Format: Color, Content/Copy-Protected CD, Dolby, Enhanced, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Arabic, English, Hebrew
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Koch Lorber Films
  • DVD Release Date: July 12, 2005
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009IWFD8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,469 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Divine Intervention" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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.
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Format: DVD
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.Read more ›
Comment 14 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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 then seeps into all the pours and cells to a clarity that only a "parable" could deliver. A superb soundtrack!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is one of those movies that manages to be both immediately accessible as well as rewarding in new ways when seen multiple times. Despite its Palestinian locations and the setting of two-thirds of the movie around Israeli checkpoints, its crowning paradox is that it is, in the words of writer-director Elia Suleiman, "not socio-politically specific." Its comedic sense provokes the laughter of recognition and empathy: the sense of feeling boxed in with those whom we cannot stand will be familiar to all but the most saintly viewers. The film holds a mirror up to us, and when we laugh, it is because we look pretty damn silly.

Some moments: a man drives through Nazareth, waving at pedestrians and motorists, cursing each one more elaborately than the last through a clenched smile; a teenager in a soccer jersey accidentally bounces a ball onto a roof--as if just waiting for such an event, the homeowner emerges with a knife and stabs the ball flat before returning it to the boy; some Israeli police are approached by a tourist for directions to the Old City, and when they are unable to help her, a blindfolded Palestinian in their custody is told to direct her--with the blindfold still on, of course; a perspective of a hospital corridor gives an intricately-choreographed view of everyone from medical staff to cardiac patients smoking cigarettes and pacing, some of them with drip bags in tow; a man whose father has just died chops onions and weeps.

The opening 30 minutes all take place in static shots that are placed no more than about twenty meters from each other.
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