RE: [Videolib] film suggestions please

Milos Stehlik (
Sun, 30 Mar 2003 15:26:02 -0600

I've heard this comment (it's slow, nothing happens) about so many films so
often about so many films from so many people that most of the time it's
just not worth the argument, but I have to ask:

what, exactly, is WRONG with SLOW? Not everything in life has to be reduced
to fast food. And perhaps even more important, what is wrong with

And isn't it the function of film festivals to show precisely those films
which audiences will have a more difficult time dealing with? Otherwise, why
not just take over the multiplex for the weekend, call it a film festival,
and let the corporate chain in California book it?

Life in Palestine, I would presume, is also slow, (let's face it, it doesn't
set any records for the percentage of population employed) unless, of
course, you happen to step into violence. I would argue that much happens in
DIVINE INTERVENTION which is underneath the surface. It happens at a
visceral level which touches on the deep personal anxiety, the absurdity of
trying to live anything resembling a "normal" life (or maintain a personal
relationship) and the rage which infects so many living there.

In this, Suleiman accomplishes something new -- a view from the inside. He
NEEDED that slowness to gradually strip off the surface layers and reveal to
us the naked characters, in all their vulnerability.

Lots of filmmakers (Antonioni, Angelopoulos, Kiarostami, Akerman, Tarkovsky,
Sokhurov to name a few could be accused of that same slowness.

As for the ending of DIVINE INTERVENTION being anti-Israeli, I think that
does Suleiman an injustice; it's too reductive a characterization. He has
made films with Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai and is far too smart to think
that the Palestinian issue has a simple (or single) answer or point of view.
Just read some of his interviews.

We could all use a little more slowness in our lives just about right now -
a rush to action or a rush to judgment has rarely proven to be the just way
to go.

Milos Stehlik
Facets Multi-Media, Inc.
1517 West Fullerton Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614 USA
Voice: 1-773-281-9075
FAX: 1-773-929-5437

-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Steve
Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2003 2:37 PM
Subject: Re: [Videolib] film suggestions please

I just watched DIVINE INTERVENTION and thought the film was amazingly
slow....I have seen the director's earlier film, CHRONICLE OF A
DISAPPEARANCE, which was also slow. His films are experimental in
nature. The ending of DIVINE is certainly totally anti-Israeli....I know
the film has gotten much acclaim....but I think that only film experts
will enjoy it....I doubt if even very many Palestinians would enjoy
it...since almost nothing happens....sorta WAITING FOR GODOT in was beautifully made....few words are ever said...and
almost all of the action is trivial, daily things....I told our local
foreign film festival NOT to show it in May...purely because its
experimental design will alienate 90 % of all viewers. - Steve
Fesenmaier. Graffiti film critic -

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