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Palestinian film debarred
by kjkhoo
13 December 2002 10:47 UTC
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No, not "Jenin, Jenin" which has been banned by the Israeli Govt -- a 
bit of a curious act that, seeing that it's apparently all lies. The 
ban will, for sure, be taken as an act of bad conscience in most 
parts of the world. For Alan Krebs benefit -- in our parts of the 
world, the government is always banning stuff, and we, benighted 
characters that we are, always take that to mean that there's 
something there worth reading, viewing, etc. and make an extra effort 
to try and get hold of whatever it is that is banned.

Whatever, I'm no in position to say whether "Jenin, Jenin" is gross 
exaggeration or even a pack of lies. However, it is pretty evident 
that what happened in Jenin, and what has been happening in the 
Occupied Territories courtesy of the oh so moral Israeli Government 
and Armed Forces, has been horrendous. Moreover, there is little 
doubt in the minds of a majority out here as to the justice of the 
Palestinian cause. That Palestinians have committed atrocities does 
not detract from the justice of that cause. Attempts at pointing to 
the horrible acts of Palestinians as a way of denying the justice of 
their cause is plain obfuscation.

kj khoo

--- begin forwarded text

The Academy Goes to War with the Bush Administration
in the Oscar Race

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has
decided to refuse the Palestinian entry, "Divine
Intervention", for the nomination of Best Foreign
Film, while accepting submissions from countries like
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Chad.

This decision has been expedited under the false
pretext that the Academy doesn't recognize Palestine
as a nation. It would be interesting to read the
definition of "nation" as seen by the Academy of
Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

What the Academy knows and therefore reminds
everybody, is that the government of each nation is
allowed to submit one film to represent its country.
This more or less defines the right for a film to be
presented. Therefore, as long as the Palestinian
government had agreed to submit "Divine Intervention"
by Elie Souleimane, the Academy had no right to refuse
to include it in the selection, unless the Academy,
sitting atop its unchallenged power and authority
doesn't recognize the Palestinian government. That
would be unfortunate.

Even the Bush administration, although they would
prefer that such government doesn't exist, was able to
communicate and negotiate with Palestine, thus
recognizing its existence. If Palestine doesn't exist
in the movie world, why then was the same "Divine
Intervention" selected as a Palestinian entry at the
Cannes Film Festival this year? I'm sure that by now,
Palestinian filmmakers - and there are a few, very
talented people - wonder what nationality they are.
Israeli? How ironic!

As we very well know, the Israeli government would
never choose to send to Hollywood, a Palestinian film
to represent its country. So for the Academy, it's
probable that Palestinian films simply cannot be
submitted, denying in a way, their right to exist.

Sounds familiar? Isn't it in the Constitution of the
Academy, or at least in its principles, to promote art
without any distinction of race, religion or politics?
Well, sometimes, the Bush administration would use the
phrase "in times of war."

Now that art has to be put to the service of politics,
it seems to me that the Academy and the entire
Hollywood film industry has lost yet another piece of
its credibility.

By Phil Ed for Au-Cinema.com


Palestinian director and performer Elia Suleiman delivers a
darkly comic masterpiece. Suleiman utilizes irreverence, wit,
mysticism and insight to craft an intense, hallucinogenic and
extremely adept exploration of the dreams and nightmares of
Palestinians and Israelis living in uncertain times.

Subtitled, "A Chronicle of Love and Pain," Divine Intervention
follows ES, is a character played by and clearly based upon the
filmmaker himself. ES is burdened with a sick father, a stalled
screenplay and an unrequited love affair with a beautiful
Palestinian woman (Manal Khader) living in Ramallah. An Israeli
checkpoint on the Nazareth-Ramallah road forces the couple to
rendezvous in an adjacent parking lot. Their relationship and the
absurd situations around them serve as metaphors for the
lunacy of larger cultural problems, and the result is palpable,
bottled personal and political rage.

Suleiman's wry chronicle sketches his hometown of Nazareth as
a place consumed by ferocious absurdity, where residents
harbor feuds, dump garbage into neighbors' yards, and
surreptitiously block access roads. Characters transgress rules
with abandon - stealing forbidden cigarette breaks in a hospital
corridor, for example. Yet the film's acerbic, absurdist sense of
humor (earning comparisons to Jacques Tati and Nanni
Moretti), in a situation where death seems to lurk at every corner,
and Suleiman's own eye-popping directorial interventions, are
what earned him the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes.

New York City release begins January 17, 2003 at the Angelika
Film Center

These festivals have played or will be playing Divine Intervention:
* Toronto International Film Festival 2002
* New York Film Festival 2002
* Mill Valley Film Festival 2002
* AFI Film Festival, Los Angeles, California 2002
* Denver International Film Festival 2002
* Arab Film Festival, San Francisco, California 2002
* Middle East Film Festival, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania 2002
* Santa Fe Film Festival 2002
* Nortel Palm Springs International Film Festival 2003
* Long Nights, Bright Screens (Buffalo, New York) 2003
* Cleveland International Film Festival 2003
* Portland International Film Festival 2003
Opens nationwide in early 2003

--- end forwarded text

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