In his most recent comedy, This is the paradise ?, the palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman’s film the absurdity of the world, pointing out in particular its camera on the pervasiveness of police as we can see in several large cities : “Before the arrival of the coronavirus, that was the state of emergency wherever we were going “, he says in an interview.
Presented last year at the Cannes film Festival (where it received a special mention from the jury), this tale humorous is the stage for a Palestinian (played by Suleiman himself) who left his native land to try to find peace elsewhere. But wherever he goes, he will be faced with the climate of tension which had made him flee his country. From Nazareth to New York by way of Paris, police are everywhere and perform checks often wacky and totally useless.
“I wanted to talk about the overall situation in the world (before the arrival of the coronavirus), so that we might live with the presence of violence in our everyday lives,” says Elia Suleiman in a telephone interview granted to the Newspaper last week.
Without realizing it at the time of the shooting, Elia Suleiman has filmed some scenes that may seem today prophetic. When his character arrives in Paris, the French capital is completely deserted, as it was a few weeks ago during the confinement.
“When the containment is reached, there are a lot of people who’ve been blamed because I had a Paris desert in my film, tells the story of laughing Suleiman, who resides in the City of Light for a few years. “
“Some I have even asked to make any more films because of this ! There are people who have taken pictures of Paris during the confinement to me, and I sent them out by making a montage with images from the movie and saying to myself : look what you’ve done. It was a little disturbing. “
In known ground
Elia Suleiman has deliberately located the action of It is that the paradise ? in three cities where he lived : Nazareth, Paris and New York. Also, Montreal has served as the backdrop for the Big Apple in some scenes (the film is co-produced by the box québécoise Possible Media).
“I wanted to shoot in these cities I already know well to avoid the trap of making a film tourism,” says the filmmaker of 59 years. These three towns are the places where I have accumulated many memories, and dozens of pages of notes containing comments that I had made. I wanted to be sure that you understand the pace, the atmosphere and humor of the cities where takes place the movie. “
Elia Suleiman likes to take the time to think about what he wants to say between the output of each one of his films. It has passed 10 years between the release of This is it paradise ? and that of his feature film previous, The time that remains (2009).
“I like to let the time pass and accumulate the comments and find inspiration for my films,” he says. I try to experiment with this in order to draw what interests me. My films are built from notes that I write during a period of several years. Some scenes may even come from notes that I’ve written 20 years earlier on a scrap of crumpled paper. “
Suleiman focuses on a film contemplative, almost mute, who has very few dialogues. Some French journalists have already pasted the nickname of Buster Keaton palestinian.
“I have the impression that since the invention of the cinema talked about, many people have abused the dialogues by putting too much in the movies, he says. I believe that this is robbing us of the basis of the language of cinema. For me, the image is a language that offers much more possibilities than the dialogues, and allows the viewer to have his or her own reading of the scene. “
► The movie That is the paradise ? (It Must Be Heaven) is released first to digital on the sites of Modern Cinema and the Cinema du Parc and will be available in video-on-demand (illico, iTunes, etc) starting on 19 June.