Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

The Time That Remains

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

The Time That Remains

Article excerpt

The Time That Remains Directed by Elia Suleiman, MPI Home Video, 2012, DVD, 109 mins., Arabic with English and Hebrew subtitles. List: $24.98; AET: $20.

Through short autobiographical vignettes, Elia Suleiman's latest film, "The Time that Remains," tells the story of his life in Nazareth. Inspired by his father's diaries and his mother's letters to her family, Suleiman begins the film during the surrender of 1948. Many Palestinians fled, including some of his family members, but Suleiman remained behind, along with his mother, father and aunt.

"The Time that Remains" is punctuated with black comedy-the absurdities of life under occupation are captured by Suleiman's lens, which lacks anger, but simply looks upon the situation with stark silence. Viewers are invited to feel part of Suleiman's life as he takes them from childhood into adulthood, and as he takes on the role of looking after his ailing mother.

While often humorous, the film also captures Palestinian despair, like the neighbor who constantly douses himself in petrol, trying to end his life while shouting existential questions. Invariably, Suleiman's father's response is to quietly put out his cigarette a meter away from the man and escort him home-a profound portrayal of extraordinary patience when there is so little to spare. …

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