Saturday, 23 May 2009
Yes Cannes Do
More reports from the front lines of Cannes from our programmer Jason Wood:
The Time that Remains
Unfolding over four episodes, The Time That Remains is a semi-autobiographical work from Palestinian director Elia Suleiman that covers the period in his family’s history spanning 1948 until recent times. Inspired by the diaries of his father, a resistance fighter, the film also takes in the letters of Suleiman’s mother to the various members of his family who were forced to leave the country. Described by the director as ‘an attempt to portray the daily life of those Palestinians who remained in their land and were labeled ‘Israeli-Arabs’, it is a successful synthesis of style, politics and personal diary, at the centre of which is the director’s own Keatonesque performance. Like Suleiman’s earlier Divine Intervention, The Time That Remains manages to blend humour and deft social/political commentary and there are a number of beautifully visual gags that put one in mind of Roy Andersson. On the whole, I must confess that I found this to be less immediately satisfying than the director’s earlier Divine Intervention, but like Lucrecia Martel’s The Headless Woman, this is a Cannes title to which I find my memory returning with some frequency, discovering fresh thoughts and pleasures each time.