Elia Suleiman's new film is the final part of a conceptual trilogy that started with 1996's "Chronicle of a Disappearance" and was followed by 2002's "Divine Intervention." All three portray the absurdity of the daily lives of Israel's Arab population. Inspired by his own memories, his father's diaries and his mother's letters to exiled family members, Suleiman interprets the wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the intimate lens of family history.

"The Time That Remains" presents a segmented version of history, starting in 1948 - the year that Israel declared its independence - and finishing in the present day. As in his previous features, Suleiman casts himself as a nearly mute witness to events. This, combined with his characteristic black humor and slapstick timing, makes Suleiman come across as a Buster Keaton trapped in a surreal political farce. But "The Time That Remains" does not simply dismiss the seriousness of its subject matter. Instead, Suleiman's personal ties to the narrative and sensitive treatment of the material make this a poetic - and very funny - film.
ASHLEY SMITH

Title
The Time that Remains
Director
Elia Suleiman
Country
France, Belgium, Italy, United Kingdom
Length
109 min
Festival
2009
Section
Open Zone
Subtitle
English
Production year
2009
Cast
Elia Suleiman, Saleh Bakri, Amer Hlehel
Producer
Michael Gentile, Elia Suleiman
Script
Elia Suleiman

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