Thursday, June 21, 2012

Elia Suleiman: The Time That Remains

Zuhair Abu Hanna, Samar Tanus, Saleh Bakri, The Time That Remains, IFC Films, 2011.

Under seen in our country, having played in only one theater in Los Angeles late last year, Palestinian film maker Elia Suleiman's fourth feature film, The Time That Remains, deserves to be seen and discussed by as many people as possible.

Essentially an elliptical history of the modern state of Palestine, as seen through Suleiman's boyhood recollections of his family, especially his father, and the strange out of sequence events which transpire and shape their futures, his grasp on imagination and memory are incomparable. Utilizing as playfully deceptive a style as always, the director here is taking on one of his most challenging films; a brief history of Palestine. The way it informs the exposition of a middle class family in the 1960s, their neighborhood now without a country, is fascinating and stimulating.

Suleiman casts many non-actors, even some of his own family members, in crucial roles. His style is complex but oddly, enchantingly comedic, inspired by Keaton and Tati. The precision of his sets and visuals, the force of his strange little scenes, are hypnotizing. A rich tableaux of middle-Eastern identity, history, politics, and life, The Time That Remains is undeniably powerful.

Watch it now on Netflix!

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