I didn’t realize that it had been four years since I added Divine Intervention to my list of movies to check out, based on a review in The Nation. (The link won’t work unless you’re a Nation subscriber, alas. Which I would recommend you all do, actually, despite that annoyance.) That list never got too long, so fairly soon after I got around to subscribing to Netflix, I added the movie to the queue.
And regretted it. I had no memory of the review by this time, so I was left with a vague idea that it was some sort of artsy Iranian movie which Stewart Klawans loved but I would think was really boring. Which is both unfair and wrong: for one thing, it’s Palestinian (oops), and, for another thing, I haven’t even seen any of these well-regarded Iranian movies that have come out over the last decade, and for all I know, they’re fabulous. (I guess I should add one of them to the queue, too?)
Before I could decide that it was a mistake, though, the movie showed up in my house. So after a bit of waiting around (and going on vacation), I finally couldn’t avoid the fact that this movie was sitting there, waiting to be watched. And I put it in the DVD player.
Surprise, surprise: it’s an arty Middle-Eastern movie. Starts with kids following and killing somebody in a Santa Claus outfit, then switches to a scene of somebody driving down a street, waving and smiling at everybody while insulting them from behind closed windows. And then it switches to somebody carrying dozens empty bottles up to his roof for unclear purposes. But, somehow, I kind of liked it. And then police showed up (or something), and he ran up to the roof and started throwing the bottles at them. A few more scene transitions, some fantasy elements, some actual bits of continuity between these scenes, and I was hooked.
I mean, it’s not the best movie ever, or anything. But I’m very glad I watched it: a lot of pretty scenes, funny vignettes, and it hangs together quite nicely. I added Elia Suleiman’s other movie to the queue: that one I am actively looking forward to.
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