DIVINE INTERVENTION tells the Israeli-Arab conflict from a Palestinian Islamic viewpoint by focusing on a Palestinian man and a woman living in separate cities who meet at a checkpoint where the Israeli soldiers harass, intimidate and steal from the Palestinians. DIVINE INTERVENTION is political agitation pure and simple, but it is a very funny, poignant tragedy, although it contains too much foul language and very strong, intense violence.
YADON ILAHEYYA was translated as INTERVENTION DIVINE, DIVINE INTERVENTION and DIVINE BLESSINGS at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. However one translates it, this is a powerful movie and a dangerous one. In fact, DIVINE INTERVENTION is one of the best made movies at the Cannes Film Festival, and the fact that it promotes the destruction of Israel makes it extremely problematic.
This very funny tragedy starts in Nazareth as a Palestinian man heads to work and calls everyone who waves at him a dirty name. Thus, he waves and says, “SOB” or worse.
Meanwhile, the police come to arrest an old man who is storing bottles on his roof. He throws the bottles at the police. When they drag him off in handcuffs, a construction crew shows up to repair the road around his house. When he returns from the police station, he gets out a sledge hammer and undoes everything the construction crew has just done.
Petty feuds and harassment are a way of life in Nazareth. When a boy looses his soccer ball, an old man punctures it with a knife. One neighbor throws garbage onto another neighbor’s garden. The police come and seize a man’s welding tools. Then, they take his other possessions and his car as he stands calmly to the side.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian man and a woman living in separate cities meet at a checkpoint where the Israeli soldiers harass, intimidate and steal from the Palestinians. Every day, they both drive up behind the roadblock, she steps into his car, and they let their hands touch. When the road is shut and the Israeli soldiers scare everyone away with shooting, the woman walks right past the soldiers in a tight red dress.
Eventually, the humorous harassment and beatings become more intense. A group of Israelis at a shooting range confront the mysterious woman, who becomes a whirling dervish and kills all of them in a spectacular martial arts scene. The movie continues to pursue the Palestinian case until the end.
Elia Suleiman’s direction is superb. There is a persistent sense of jeopardy and poignant humor growing out of constant feuds. The actors are captivating. The music works with the sound track. This is not the normal, slow, tedious, political diatribe or foreign film. Elia Suleiman knows his craft and is a director to watch.
Basically, DIVINE INTERVENTION represents the Muslim view of the Israel-Palestinian situation, with miraculous Islamic elements from a Sufi Muslim viewpoint and a slight dig at Christianity. There is too much foul language in the movie. The violence escalates and is intense. The violence includes someone dressed in Santa Claus outfit has a knife sticking out of his chest, man is beaten, female Sufi warrior kills Israelis with darts, guns, grenades, and bombs, harassment, people fire bomb a house, and people machine gun a house.
Anyone who has been to Israel knows the plight of the Palestinians. The Israelis have brutally taken the land that the Arabs have lived in for centuries. However, the Arabs who have been most hurt are the Christians. They were 90 percent of Nazareth up until 20 years ago. They were the people who lived in the Palestine area for centuries. Now, most are gone, disposed by the Jews and the Muslims.
Even so, the ultimate argument in this difficult situation for those who believe in God is the very fact that God gave the Holy Land to the Jews. The Christians, in turn, were the converts of the Jews and others who occupied land until the Muslims started their expansion which, mostly by force, took Christian lands from Morocco to as far away as India. The Muslims were briefly driven back from Europe, but now they are flooding into areas that they once tried to conquer by force.
When the Jews returned in 1948, as the movie KEDMA shows, they retook the land by force, often copying the loathsome tactics of the Europeans who had persecuted them so viciously. Unlike KEDMA, which lays blame everywhere, or the book EXODUS by Leon Uris, which shows that Arab extremists terrorized many Jews throughout the first half of the last century, DIVINE INTERVENTION points to the Jews as the oppressors. It engages the emotions so effectively that it galvanizes the viewer to want to completely rid all of Israel and the occupied territories of the Jewish interlopers. This is wrong morally, spiritually and historically, but the movie is very good and very entertaining at making its point, which is political agitation pure and simple.
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(FRFRFR, Ab, LL, VVV, S, A, D, M) Muslim worldview of the Israeli-Palestinian situation with miraculous Islamic elements from a Sufi Muslim viewpoint; slight dig at Christianity; 17 obscenities; wartime violence, someone dressed in Santa Claus outfit has a knife sticking out of his chest, man is beaten, female Sufi warrior kills Israelis with darts, guns, grenades, and bombs, harassment, fire bombing house, machine gunning house, fighting, and hospital scenes; woman in tight dress tantalizes Israeli soldiers and man and woman caress; alcohol; extreme smoking; and, political agitation, insults, stealing, vandalism, and government harassment.
GENRE: Comedy/Satire/Tragic Comedy