Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Time That Remains - Elia Suleiman (2009 UK)

The final instalment in a trilogy that includes CHRONICLE OF A DISAPPEARANCE and DIVINE INTERVENTION, this is set among the Israeli Arab community and shot largely in homes and places in which Suleiman’s family once lived. Inspired by his father’s diaries, letters his mother sent to family members who had fled the Israeli occupation, and the director’s own recollections, the film spans from 1948 until the present, recounting the saga of Suleiman’s family in elegantly stylised episodes. Inserting himself as a silent observer reminiscent of Buster Keaton, Suleiman trains a keen eye on the absurdities of life in Nazareth.

Wonderful film making here. A colour palette to die for. An absurdist meditation on life, interconnectedness, loss and meaning. I will admit to having to pause and visit wikipedia a couple of times during this to fully understand the context and time-frame for the setting. That said I think there is more than enough universal appeal to make this enjoyable for anyone. Solid, theatrical performances. Subtle Coen-esque humour.


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