Tuesday, June 3, 2014
DIVINE INTERVENTION (2002), Suleiman coming into his own
In CHRONICLE OF A DISAPPEARANCE, there is a very funny scene in the first reel where an older woman talks to the camera about how disgusted she is with another neighbor, gossiping in petty notes about mourning clothes, tradition, modernity, and female promiscuity. Here, Sulieman's character falls in love with a woman who is so attractive, the IDF road block collapses in awe when she passes by, literally breaking a surveillance tower into pieces. These clever notes on gender, sex, and race are unbelievably daring hot topics to grapple with. By highlighting them, the film maker is effectively challenging the Western model of the Oriental Woman as a sort of Other that is mysterious, sexual, dangerous, as noted by Edward Said. He uses his large budget to create a dream sequence to retrofit the bullet ballet of the MATRIX films with the themes of Palestinian liberation, the hero figure a woman replacement for Keanu Reeves. This notion of womanhood is radically unique and absolutely foreign to the West; a Western film would insist on subordinating the Heroine to the idealized male protagonist, making him a Hero that comes in to save her from the IDF firing squad. It is this kind of difference from the West that impresses me so greatly with Sulieman's work, it is able to use subversion and genre tropes to make us laugh at a tragedy.