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Overall Rating
4

Awesome: 12%
Worth A Look84%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 4%

3 reviews, 7 user ratings


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Divine Intervention
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by EricDSnider

"Hard to get, but enjoyable to watch."
4 stars

To understand "Divine Intervention," you must know that there is a checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem, a dividing point between the Palestinians and the Israelis. (I will assume you already knew those two groups hate each other.)

Even with that knowledge, however, this is a hard film to get but an enjoyable one to watch. Virtually without dialogue or plot, it is presented as a series of vignettes that range from the amusing to the bizarre, all showing the difficulty of daily life in Jerusalem and environs under the current political circumstances. Some scenes even seem to repeat themselves, which I suppose symbolizes the sense of futility and boredom that must arise when a hostile environment makes it impossible to do anything interesting with your life.

The film begins with Santa Claus being chased and ultimately stabbed by young boys. Then, we see an older man driving his car, waving politely to everyone he sees as he mutters obscenities about them. You will agree, I'm sure, that a film beginning this way is worth sticking around for.

In the Nazareth neighborhood where the profane old man lives, there is an assortment of ill-tempered folks. A woman burns things in her yard, a guy in a white tank-top destroys whatever he can get his hands on, another man throws his trash in a neighbor's yard every morning.

Eventually, we meet a man whose name we never learn and who never speaks, a fellow reminiscent of Chaplin or Keaton played by Elia Suleiman, who also wrote and directed the film. He lives in Jerusalem but is in love with a woman (Manal Khader) who lives in Raballah. Since passing through the checkpoint is difficult, they meet in a parking lot on the border, sit in his car, and hold hands in the most sexy, seductive manner I have ever witnessed. All around them, chaos reins, presented with mordant wit.

It culminates in a weirdly choreographed scene set at a shooting range, where elements of music videos and "The Matrix" are brought into the mix and the religious symbolism flows freely.

What does it all mean? I have no earthly idea. Additional viewings would probably clear up a few points, but those would need to go in a critical analysis, not a movie review. A movie review is for people who plan to see a movie one time, not make it their thesis project. A viewer taking in "Divine Intervention" will find interesting camera angles and deadpan, burlesque-style humor and a lot of amusing things to look at. What you get out of it, well, that's your business.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6487&reviewer=247
originally posted: 08/16/03 09:38:38
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2002 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2002 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/13/10 Laraine Goddard Superb Film! Funny, poignant and uplifting. Music wonderful. 5 stars
1/10/09 Shaun Wallner Well made. 4 stars
9/07/04 ROGER ONE OF THE MOST INTELLIGENT FILMS I EVER SEEN. FUNNY AND WRY. 5 stars
8/17/03 Makes more sense after reflectn. Novel enough 2 see for the sake of it Elendil 4 stars
2/20/03 mattski bits worked, bits didnt. but it really does contain an awful lot of very sly poilitics. 4 stars
2/08/03 Dima Shehadeh A smart and subtle interpretation / re-interpretation 5 stars
2/05/03 Johannes Koch I have no nazi gold and im not a rapist 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  17-Jan-2003 (NR)
  DVD: 12-Jul-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
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