Palestinian Film: Chronicle of Disappearance (Elia Suleiman, 1996)

Sunday 23 December 2018, Palestinian Film: Chronicle of Disappearance (Elia Suleiman, 1996). 88 minutes. In Arabic with English subtitles. Doors open at 20:00, Film starts 20:30.

After spending more than a decade in New York, Palestinian director Elia Suleiman returned to his homeland in 1992 to make his first feature film. Chronicle of a Disappearance is an extended meditation of the contemporary life of Palestinians in “the Holy Land.” Elders recount absurdly funny tales and jokes; Russian emigres talk about tourism’s ravaging of the country; tourists pontificate about Israeli politics; and a young Palestinian actress struggles to find an apartment, while Suleiman, himself a character, tries to figure out what kind of film he should make. Suleiman weaves these narratives together with extraordinary irony and grace.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] squat [dot] net

Movie night: Divine Intervention (Elia Suleiman, 2002)

divine_intervention_elia_suleimanSunday January 15th 2017, Movie night: Divine Intervention by Elia Suleiman, 2002, 92 minutes, in Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begin at 9pm. Free admission.

When Elia Suleiman’s “Chronicle of a Disappearance” hit the festival circuit in 1996 and 1997, it was a real revelation. The Palestinian director touched on the frustration of being an Arab in Israel, maintaining a strong sense of humor. Rather than agitprop, he made a witty, semi-autobiographical comedy, reminiscent of Jim Jarmusch’s “Stranger Than Paradise” and Jacques Tati. Using himself as a silent protagonist named E.S., Suleiman treated the film as a fictional diary. In many ways, “Divine Intervention” is a close follow-up to “Chronicle of a Disappearance.” Once again, Suleiman stars and remains silent. He plays a filmmaker struggling to write a script, inspired by his experiences. It also begins in his birthplace, Nazareth, and ends in Jerusalem. However, “Divine Intervention” is likely to be far more controversial than “Chronicle.” That film’s gentle tone and ironic ending were taken by some viewers as signs of acquiescence; on the other hand, the violent revenge fantasies of “Divine Intervention” are in danger of being taken literally.

Synopsis – Nazareth, birthplace of the Christian carpenter is also a Palestinian enclave inside Israel. Under the cover of a seemingly banal everyday life, the city is becoming overwhelmed by madness. An old man, a father, breaks down under the pressure of a decaying business. The son, a Palestinian from Jerusalem, is in love with a Palestinian woman from Ramala. Torn between his sick father and his love, he is trying to keep them both alive. Due to the political situation, the freedom of movement for women ends at the Israel Defence Forces checkpoint between the two cities. As the lovers cannot cross the border together they start meeting each other at an abandoned parking lot right at the checkpoint. They cannot free themselves from the clutches of occupation. Their intimacy is fatally marked with the military siege. Lonesome yearnings begin to produce violent retaliations, angry hearts beat with the spasm of imaginary getaways.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Doors open at 8pm, film begins at 9pm, free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] squat [dot] net