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Divine Intervention
Directed by Elia Suleiman
Produced by Humbert Balsan
Elia Suleiman
Written by Elia Suleiman
Starring Elia Suleiman
Manal Khader
Distributed by Avatar Films (USA)
Release date(s) May 19, 2002
Running time 92 minutes
Country France
Morocco
Germany
Palestine
Language Arabic, Hebrew

Divine Intervention (Arabic: يد إلهية‎) is a 2002 film by the Israeli Palestinian director Elia Suleiman, which may be described as a surreal black comedy. The film consists largely of a series of brief interconnected sketches, but for the most part records a day in the life of a Palestinian living in Nazareth, whose girlfriend lives several checkpoints away in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

One lyrical section features a beautiful sunglasses-clad Palestinian woman (played by Manal Khader) whose passing by not only distracts all eyes, but whose gaze causes Israeli military checkpoint towers to crumble. The director features prominently as the film's silent, expressionless protagonist in an iconic and powerfully moving performance has been compared to the work of Buster Keaton, Jim Jarmusch and Jacques Tati.[1][2]

Contents

Cast

Plot

In Nazareth, Santa Claus runs away from children as gifts fall from his basket. He's been stabbed and leans against a tree.

Santa Claus after running away from Palestinian children.

Neighbors bicker over small stuff.

A Palestinian couple meets in a car to have pon farr hand sex.

More bickering neighbors.

The couple is in the car again. The man blows up a red Yasser Arafat balloon and releases it near an Israeli checkpoint. An Israeli soldier is about to shoot it down but his comrade stops him. The balloon floats past some flags, eventually settling near a synagogue.

At night, the couple again in a car.

The next morning, five Israeli men practice a dance choreography in which they shoot at targets painted with a Palestinian woman. Then, a real female Palestinian ninja like the one on the targets and gets shot at by the men. She gathers all the bullets and returns them. Then a helicopter shows up and she takes it down. The dance choreographer watches helplessly.

From the climactic confrontation between the Israeli men and the Palestinian woman.

A man and his mother watch a pot of water boil.

Oscar controversy

Despite being nominated for the "Palme d'Or" award at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, the film's consideration as candidate for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards was an occasion for considerable controversy. In late 2002, producer Humbert Balsan authorized the US distributor of the film to release a statement which stated that Balsan had asked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences if the film could run for best foreign language picture. According to Balsan, the answer was no, because "Palestine is not a state we recognize in our rules." However, spokesperson John Pavlik states that the Academy had never made a decision on that issue because Suleiman had never submitted his film. Critics like The Electronic Intifada and others, claim that the Academy did make a decision, and that it was based on political considerations.[3]

The film was considered for an Oscar the following year; Pavlik told Variety "The committee decided to treat Palestine as an exception in the same way we treat Hong Kong as an exception. It's always the goal of the foreign-language film award executive committee to be as inclusive as possible."[4]

Music

Divine intervention
Soundtrack by Various Aritsts
Released September 30, 2002
Genre Soundtrack
Length 52:27
Label Milan Music

Elia Suleiman has used entirely non-original music of various genres and artists in the film. These include artists such as the Belgian singer Natacha Atlas, Indian composer A.R. Rahman, Lebanese electro-pop band Soapkills and Paris-based record producer Mirwais Ahmadzaï.

Track listing:

  1. "I Put a Spell on You" by Natacha Atlas — 3:44
  2. "Ana Oual Azab" by Mohammed Abdel Wahab — 9:01
  3. "Fingers" by Joi — 6:34
  4. "Easy Muffin" by Amon Tobin — 5:03
  5. "Wala Ala Baloh" by Amr Diab — 5:08
  6. "Les Kid Nappeurs Main Theme" by Marc Collin — 4:13
  7. "Tango El Amal" by Nour el Houda — 3:10
  8. "Mumbai Theme Tune" by A.R. Rahman — 5:14
  9. "Definitive beat" by Mirwais — 3:58
  10. "Tango" by Soapkills — 3:19
  11. "Dub4me" by Soapkills — 3:03

Awards

The film screened at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival on May 12,[5] was awarded the Jury Prize[6] and the FIPRESCI Prize for "its sensitive, amusing and innovative vision of a complex and topical situation and the tragic consequences that result from it".[7]

Won
Nominated
  • Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival[6]
  • Best Non-American Film at the Bodil Awards

References

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Blackboards tied with
Songs from the Second Floor (2000)
no award 2001
Jury Prize, Cannes
2002
Succeeded by
At Five in the Afternoon
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