This film, like most elia suleiman films, uses real time, absurdity, symbolism and scenes from suleiman's life, at the same time portraying history and current events as typical of suleiman it is also a very personal film, the most personal of the ones i've seen (divine intervention, chronicle of a disappearance. It is a reminiscence of his family from the time of 1948, when the state of israel was created on the land called palestine, to the present day the film covers events including the war of 1948, the death of nasser, the resistance against israeli occupation, and the deterioration of palestinian society in recent times.
Although it actually stands as the final act in elia suleiman’s loosely linked trilogy of semi-autobiographical “chronicles” of palestinian life (chronicle of a disappearance, 96 divine intervention, 02) the time that remains suffered in some ways—and rather unfairly—from the “curse of the sophomore effort” when it premiered at cannes in 2009 the film was far from panned, and suleiman’s mordant gaze and mastery of his craft were duly noted.
The time that remains is suleiman's third film about israel's relationship with palestinians, following chronicle of a disappearance and divine intervention characteristics themes. E lia suleiman's the time that remains is the third in a loose trilogy of movies about the israeli state and the palestinian people, to go with his chronicle of a disappearance (1996) and divine intervention (2002) the movie tells the story of suleiman's own family in nazareth, and his father, fuad suleiman, played here by saleh bakri as a sensitive, dreamily handsome man, with a look of the young alain delon.
Laughter and tears are the most personal response to a movie they can't be legislated by directors or critics so take this review as one man's happy response to the time that remains others may find the film too austere, too reliant on silent images. The time that remains is humanist cinema at its finest and the absence of sentimentality, the gentleness of the cynicism and the curbing of rancour are remarkable. The content of much of the film’s opening two-thirds was inspired by the memoirs of his late father, a rebellious, angular gunmaker who – on this evidence – went through great physical and psychological pains to internalise his yearning for political resistance. The time that remains completes suleiman’s trilogy that began with 1996’s chronicle of a disappearance and continued with 2002’s divine intervention, and it’s the most ambitious, wide-ranging film of the trio, spanning 60 years of life in nazareth via four vignettes drawn from suleiman’s family history.
The same visual style is applied here, although the tone is more elegiac and the focus is more anguished, more personal suleiman plays a version of himself in the film, but only during its apocalyptic final chapter.
In the time that remains, suleiman’s distilled and matured wit suddenly becomes just that and the effect is quite powerful which is not to say that sentimentality colors the film suleiman still handles emotion cautiously and tentatively, and the result is somehow all the more stirring for that. The time that remains takes suleiman back to nazareth, again as actor, writer and director, with a storyline that involves versions of his life and his father's, covering more than half a century it's a cool, controlled minor masterpiece, the tone detached, oblique, surreal. From left, zuhair abu hanna, samar qudha tanus and saleh bakri in “the time that remains” credit marcel hartmann/ifc films “the time that remains” is described by its subtitle as the “chronicle of a present absentee,” a paradoxical formulation that reveals a lot about the temperament of its director, elia suleiman mr.