Palestinian director Elia Suleiman’s artfully composed, comedic contemplation of his place in the world discerns universal truths and absurdities in the minutiae.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2019
Droll and astute, Elia Suleiman’s (Divine Intervention, NZIFF02; The Time That Remains, NZIFF09) latest deadpan outing, which topped the international critics list at Cannes, utilises the Palestinian auteur’s expressive Buster Keaton-like visage as its vehicle for exploring national and personal identity in a shifting global context. A plethora of cities are framed into perfectly composed backdrops (by award-winning Timbuktu cinematographer Sofian El Fani) against which Suleiman observes the melancholy-laced humour of the everyday.
“Filmed in his charming hometown of Nazareth and an oddly deserted Paris, with visits to New York and Montreal, a gossamer story is built around ordinary events and chance encounters. Playing himself without speaking a word for the whole film, the writer-director is an attentive, ironic observer of the human comedy in a world of global tension and paranoia... Suleiman’s gift is his ability to convey this uneasiness in the lightest of terms, making each scene an amusing encounter between his silent Everyman and the oddities around him. He doesn’t need overtly political topics; even an ornery sparrow will do to illustrate the obstacles in life.” — Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter
“Mostly, It Must Be Heaven is about how we view the world through the Instagram filter of what defines us. But it’s also, arguably, more objective than that – suggesting that we all now live in a kind of global Palestine, where arbitrary displays of power, threats of violence, and lost people in search of meaning and identity are the new normal.” — Lee Marshall, Screendaily