Like a modern Jacques Tati with a hint of Buster Keaton, the director, writer, and actor, Elia Suleiman, embodies another silent version of himself, coming up with new, even subtler and more ingenious ways to portray the Palestinian ghettoisation. This time, in search of homeliness, Suleiman's alter ego travels from Nazareth to Europe, making the first stop at picturesque Paris to promote his movie, and then, off he goes to bustling New York City. There, he meets his friend, the actor, producer, and writer, Gael García Bernal, who is eager to lend a hand; however, it seems that his film is not Palestinian enough. But, when confronted with life's inherent absurdity, what else is there to do but sit back and stare in bewilderment?Written by
Official submission of Palestine for the 'Best International Feature Film' category of the 92nd Academy Awards in 2020. See more »
First... Welcome to New York, It's good to have you here at our school. I will start by asking you to share with us your experience as a filmmaker and to speak about the ways of being and feeling that have or have not permitted you to achieve... the conditions of becoming what we call a citizen of the world. Is you sense, your identity... of place a thing of the past? Has your nomadic existence extinguished your love of one place? And extended it to a love of all places? In other words are you ...
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Is Palestinian comedy an Oxymoron?
Maybe the best response for an absurdist situation is to reflect back that same puzzlement. I suspect the "p" word puts off many viewers who want to watch a film without too many arguments. The idea that some kind "Buster Keaton persona" could be present at so many bizarre situations without launching an obvious rant of some kind is a tidy conceit.
Most of the time - that stance works. It does get stretched a bit thin as the locus moves from Nazareth to Paris and New York. Apparently Montreal was a location too but that wasn't obvious. That may have been intentional.
The film maker appears to be asking us to makes some comparisons between international scenarios and the Palestinian politics. There is very little spoken dialogue in the film itself.
I liked the music and the general keystone cops sequence in Central Park but some of the other sequences are a bit more cryptic. On the whole the film does a great job of setting expectations and then flipping them for comic effect. Some of that comes across as self parody.
There are genuinely funny moments. I saw this at a film festival and I was delighted by it. It did make me think some more about the absurdity of the modern media and the milking of outrage rather than the more important discourse that we never quite get to.
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