Where post meets pre: Haynes does Sirk, cinematically, Far from Heaven
by Anita Di Bianco
That film-makers are so often forgiven for self-indulgence is no mystery the detectable delight a director takes in stretching conventions may be one of the few common ingredients of great directing. In fact, the most successful of such exercises become indelible historical markers, conceptual exercises springing from obsessive creative mania. Hitchcock¹s almost continuous shot without a single cut in Rope is but one gleeful example. At the less generous end of the spectrum are films which flaunt a director¹s access to resources, taking the familiar forms of extraneous camera effects, gratuitous period settings, and expensive but lazily directed star-talent.
A review of Divine Intervention
Directed by Elia Suleiman
2002, France, 92 minutes
By John Menick
published on http://bbs.thing.net/
A discarded peach pit blows an Israeli tank into a slow-motion eruption of flame and steel. A kaffiyeh-clad, levitating Palestinian ninja makes quick work of a posse of cocky Israeli soldiers. A stiletto-heeled, brunette bombshell of a Palestinian struts defiantly past impotent checkpoint guards. A deadpan Elia Suleiman blasts the Egyptian singer Natacha Atlas’s rendition of "I Put a Spell on You" to the Israeli parked next to him. The neighbor is not pleased.
With mind-boggling grace, Elia Suleiman’s "Divine Intervention" alternates between these oneiric highlights, and the day-to-day absurdities of Palestinian life under occupation. The film’s storyline, if such a slightly structured film as this can be said to have one, concerns the laconic character called E.S. (Elia Suleiman) and his return from Jerusalem to his hometown of Nazareth in order to visit his dying father. Along the way, he falls in love with a woman living in Ramallah (Manal Khader), and observes the comic and cruel violence that has overtaken his home.