Divine Intervention

Poster for Divine Intervention

Autumn 2003 Edge series

Sunday, November 9, 2003 at 7:00pm

Empire Theatres, New Minas, NS

Directed by


Rated 14A · 1h 32m
Arabic and Hebrew

One of the hits at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and the winner of a special jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Divine Intervention is a frequently hilarious, highly imaginative and intrinsically personal film about the life of Palestinians in Nazareth under the Israeli occupation. Instead of hammering home his rage at the plight of his people, director Elia Suleiman depicts the fragmentation of community, through a curious series of vignettes ranging from small moments of realism to full-blown fantasy. At the heart of this creative and highly affecting film is his contention that his neighbors in Nazareth often have no other place to vent their anger and frustration than upon each other. As Suleiman (who looks like an Arab Buster Keaton and essentially plays himself in the lead role) travels to Jersulaem in the course of one day, he falls in love with a woman at a checkpoint, instigates the adventures of a balloon adorned with the face of Yasser Arafat over Jerusalem airspace, and watches an hysterical revenge fantasy featuring a Palestinian ninja with Matrix-like super powers. Suleiman skillfully crafts poetic scenes that build to hilarious, but pointed, climaxes. By turns laconic, witty and thoroughly outrageous, Divine Intervention uses reflection, imagination and a tremendous sense of playfulness to defuse the toxins of anger, resentment, and hate.

“Simmering, sharply observed work.” – Ty Burr, Boston Globe

“The Dr. Strangelove of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, bringing barely acknowledged fears to the surface so they can be understood.” – David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor

“The film offers up simultaneous critiques of Palestinian and Israeli extremism, but the most radical thing about it is that it’s often disquietingly funny.” – Manohla Dargis, Los Angeles Times

“No matter what your political sensibilities, you can’t deny this movie’s striking originality.” – Desson Howe, Washington Post