Synopsis: An examination of the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 through to the present day.[Synopsis from the director, courtesy of Cannes Film Festival] : "The Time That Remains" is a semi biographic film, in four historic episodes, about a family--my family--spanning from 1948, until recent times. The film is inspired by my father’s diaries of his personal accounts, starting from when he was a resistant fighter in 1948, and by my mother’s letters to family members who were forced to leave the country since then. Combined with my intimate memories of them and with them, the film attempts to portray the daily life of those Palestinians who remained in their land and were labeled "Israeli-Arabs," living as a minority in their own homeland.
Round-up: "The Time that Remains" "edges out 'Vincere' as my favorite film in Competition this year" says the A.V. Club's Mike D'Angelo, who describes it as "a grim comedy structured as a series of deadpan blackout sk... etches." "Deadpan" is also the word favored by Roger Ebert in describing the film. Writes Ebert: "One of the most unexpected successes here is 'The Time That Remains,' a deadpan Palestinian comedy written by, directed, and starring Elia Suleiman. Read that again: a deadpan Palestinian comedy... I was surprised by how it grew on me." "Told with brightly colored imagery, using static shots to frame the scenes, Suleiman’s compelling new work - received quite warmly with an extended applause at a press screening here - evokes that of Jacques Tati and Buster Keaton," noted indieWIRE's Eugene Hernandez. Rounding out the positive press and echoing the Keaton comparison is Howard Feinstein's review for Screen Daily. "A master stylist, Suleiman intersperses Keaton-style sight gags, tense scenes chronicling Israeli abuse, and intimate sequences of his family at home," writes Feinstein, who calls the film a "successful fusion of the political with the personal."