(Yadon ilaheyya)

Elia Suleiman
France, Palestine 2002 | 92 Min. | 35 mm, OmU

Nazareth is a com­plete­ly normal city in the Middle East, where the Arabic neigh­bour­hood is embroiled in the daily war between the loners, the eccentrics, and the aggres­sive grum­blers. What one person man­ages to build up, anoth­er tears down in a con­tact, almost neu­rot­ic cycle; where one person plants a seed, anoth­er inces­sant­ly scat­ters his trash. Even more hope­less is the rela­tion­ship between the Israelis. Suleiman, the direc­tor, plays a man from Jerusalem, who can only meet his girl friend from Ramal­lah at a check­point on the out­skirts of the city. The lovers are wit­ness to the daily chi­canery and insan­i­ty which has become nor­mal­i­ty at the border of absur­di­ty in no man’s land. Sur­re­al, absurd, and deeply moving are the moments which direc­tor Elia Suleiman por­trays in his film about the Pales­tin­ian-Israeli Con­flict. The first Pales­tin­ian film ever to be shown in the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val, Suleiman was award­ed the “Prix du Jury”. At the same time, the Acad­e­my Awards reject­ed the film for Oscar con­tention on the grounds that it came from Pales­tine, an “unrecog­nised nation.”