Elia Suleiman could be a lost member of Monty Python or a distant cousin of Marek Koterski. His take on reality is equally intelligent, while never sacrificing his good mood or his awareness of absurdities. Suleiman’s point of view is exceptional in that it’s Palestinian. Everything he looks at is stamped by his identity, which can be described as alienated, astonished, uncertain. The notion of perspective lends a structure to the film, which consists of a series of short sketches that, taken together, tell the story of Suleiman’s (he plays himself in the film) journey from Palestine via Paris to New York. He is an observer of ever-stranger events that are portrayed in a satirical light. Law enforcement, which does everything but what they should be doing, comes in for particular criticism. Laughing paramedics handing out coffee and police officers chasing an angel turn out to be a special kind of weapon in the fight against the fear of the growing militarization of the world, intensifying, rather than weakening, our feeling of insecurity. The film received a special award at the Cannes Festival.
Elia Suleiman is a director, actor, lecturer and, no less important since it features in his films, a Palestinian Christian. His film style has been compared to the work of Jacques Tati and Buster Keaton insofar as he has the knack, as they did, for combining humor with tragedy and, like them, he enjoys playing major roles in his films. Each of Suleiman’s films is a big event at festivals around the world, where he has received numerous awards.
1996 Chronicle of a Disappearance
2002 Boska interwencja / Yadon ilaheyya / Divine Intervention
2009 Czas, który pozostał / The Time That Remains
2019 Tam gdzieś musi być niebo / It Must Be Heaven