The Time That Remains (2011)
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Critic Reviews for The Time That Remains
Suleiman takes the approach of gentle observer, neither condoning nor confronting -- not violently, at least. Start with humor and perhaps empathy will follow.
Living in a part of the world where politics, and the pursuit of politics by warring means, are the rule, director Elia Suleiman is the exception.
Despite its abundance of deadpan and absurdist humor, "The Time That Remains," a look at the Arab-Israeli conflict from a Palestinian perspective, was clearly made with a sorrowful heart.
Suleiman's obvious gift for cinema makes you wish that in connecting so personally with his past, he'd occasionally reach out to the audience, too.
To keep a steady gaze, the film suggests, is not just a virtue but a form of orderly protest, when your world is breaking apart.
Audience Reviews for The Time That Remains
I have seen a lot of film festival movies in past 4 years, but this one I just didn't grasp the point of the story. Set in Israel and the film writeup says a of a fanilys triumps and tragedies. This is not what I saw. I saw a modern day israel and a changing theme throughout the whole movie. 3 stars
"The Time That Remains" starts with Menashe(Menashe Noy) picking up a passenger in his cab from the airport in Tel Aviv. Soon, an intense storm strands them, leaving the cab driver in a place that he does not recognize which is to be expected in a country where so many of the old towns simply do not exist anymore. It also might be because the story soon moves to July 16, 1948 with the surrender of Nazareth to the Israeli army that kicks in a fight or flight response for many.(And then there are those who choose neither by killing themselves.) For Fuad Suleiman(Saleh Bakri), it is definitely fight while finding a way to help a wounded man before being detained by authorities.
Elia Suleiman's previous film "Divine Intervention" was an angry and funny segmented look at the current state of the West Bank. With his latest, "The Time That Remains," the anger has mostly given way to sadness and resignation in an autobiographical film that takes place in 1948, 1970, 1980 and the present day and uses repetition as a way of denoting the dreariness of the everyday lives of the residents. Elia Suleiman is a character throughout and in the present day, the director plays himself, in silent witness of everything that unfolds before him. What's back is the impressive sense of the absurd which he nails(there's an even better tank gag this time around) by just letting the camera stay in one place.
In 2002, Elia Suleiman made history with ?Divine Intervention?, the first Palestinian movie to have ever competed at the Cannes Film Festival. Seven years later in 2009, he returned to the official competition with his much anticipated second feature film, ?The Time That Remains?, inspired by and dedicated to his parents.
Using his father?s diaries and his mother?s letters to relatives as the basis for his screenplay, Suleiman begins the story of his family back in 1948 in Nazareth, when he was a child, and twists through the decades in four separate episodes, recounting torture, looting, exile and the resistance, of which his father, Fuad (played by the excellent Saleh Bakri), was an unofficial yet enthusiastic member, and finally, the acceptance of their fate: Israel was now a country and the remaining Palestinians on the land were now referred to as Israeli-Arabs. Without pathos nor any political declarations, except to evoke the current situation ever-so-diplomatically, he avoids clichés by deploying both dark and light humor. But what makes the film touching are its unique and sometimes quirky characters, such as his parents, their alcoholic neighbor who, every afternoon, pours gasoline on his head and threatens to set himself on fire, or his mother?s Chinese caretaker who karaokes to Céline Dion?s ?My Heart Will Go On?.
Playing his own role, called simply E.S., the director never utters a single syllable throughout the movie. Not a man of many words, Elia Suleiman. He deploys the old adage ?Silence is golden?, a very eloquent and thought-provoking one at that. Everything is contained in movements and expressions, subversive, light and poetic.
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