In Nazareth, under the 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. This man is ES’s father. A love story develops between a Palestinian man living in Jerusalem and a Palestinian woman from Ramallah. The man – ES (Elia Suleiman) – 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. Unable to escape the reality of the occupation, their mutual desire will have violent repercussions. Against all expectations, their wounded hearts retaliate by entering a fantasy world that gives expression to remarkable acts of courage. –uniFrance
Elia Suleiman is a Palestinian-Israeli film director and actor. He is best known for the 2002 film Divine Intervention, a modern tragic comedy on living under occupation in the Palestinian territories which won the Jury Prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. Between 1982-1993, Suleiman lived in New York City, where he directed two short films: Introduction to the End of an Argument and Homage by Assassination, that won numerous awards.
In 1996, Suleiman directed Chronicle of a Disappearance, his first feature film. It won the Best First Film Prize at the 1996 Venice Film Festival. In 2002, Suleiman’s second feature film, Divine Intervention, subtitled, A Chronicle of Love and Pain, won the Jury Prize at the Festival de Cannes and the International Critics (FIPRESCI) Prize, also receiving the Best Foreign Film Prize at the European Awards in Rome. Suleiman was part of the jury for the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. —World Cinema Foundation
A strange tale of life in occupied Palestine. Some have compared Elia Suleiman to a modern-day Buster Keaton, and there are certainly moments that would confirm that. This one is packed full of absurd humor and surreal sequences. Yet I didn't like it as much as I wanted to. It plays out like he didn't have much of an idea where he was going, and it veers from absolute minimalism to over the top expressionism without much warning. Still, it's worth it for that one sequence where ES's lover destroys a checkpoint with seductive power.