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DIVINE INTERVENTION (Institutional Library/H.S./Non-Profit)
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(Sep 15, 2008)
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At the center of the Middle East conflict, hearts beat in tragic comedy and deadpan irony: a young Palestinian woman defies Israeli soldiers and struts through a checkpoint as if it were the catwalk of a fashion show, Israeli police use a blindfolded prisoner to provide directions to tourists in Jerusalem, a Palestinian collaborator casually extinguishes his firebombed house. These are but a few of the images that filmmaker Elia Suleiman puts forth in his critically acclaimed satire showing the absurdities of life on both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli border. DIVINE INTERVENTION offers a rare glimpse in the Arabic psyche by following the story of E.S., played by and clearly based upon Suleiman himself. E.S. is burdened with a sick father whose house is being gutted by tax collectors, and an unrequited love affair with a beautiful Palestinian woman who lives in the occupied city of Ramallah. Their love affair, which serves as a metaphor for the struggle for Palestinian independence, takes place in the parking lot of an Israeli checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem. As they gaze in silent amazement, their world unfolds in front of them in a series of absurdist vignettes that speak to the sorrow and lunacy of the conflict and the effects it has on both sides. It is Suleiman's acerbic sense of humor (earning him comparisons to Jacques Tati) and his eye-popping direction that won him the 2002 Grand Jury Prize at Cannes.
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