|Genre: Romance, War, Drama, Comedy, Police|
Plot: IN THEATRES: JANUARY 17, 2003 (NY)
DIVINE INTERVENTION writer-director Elia Suleiman has been compared to Woody Allen and Charlie Chaplin, presumably because he has Allen's intelligent, self-deprecating humor and Chaplin's gift for silent comedy. DIVINE INTERVENTION is not a silent film, but an intensely quiet comedy about daily life in the West Bank and Israel. Suleiman provides a series of not-altogether-related vignettes of people choked with boredom and drained of compassion, such as an angry mob of adolescents stabbing Santa Claus, or the neighbor who throws garbage onto the property next door (and complains when its thrown back), or checkpoint soldiers who sing and dance, and look menacing doing so. Though there is no distinct protagonist in this atypical satire, the filmmaker plays himself returning to Nazareth to help his ailing, hospitalized father (Nayef Fahoum Daher). Between visits to the hospital, where patients chain smoke in the halls outside their rooms, Suleiman falls for a West Bank woman (Manal Khader). Restrictions force them to carry out their relationship with only some hand-holding in the parking lot of the Israeli checkpoint between their two cities.
DIVINE INTERVENTION favors extended, slow-paced scenes that seem suspended in time until they are
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