An easy-going film that coolly ambles forward as a series of short sketches and vignettes, while maintaining a fairly detached tone.
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A charming, deadpan study of national identities, an idiosyncratic love letter to his home and an unvarnished tribute to life’s universal absurdities.
Filmmaker and actor Elia Suleiman uses his own face and body to express the soul of Palestine in his films, and nowhere more so than in his droll new comedy, It Must Be Heaven.
This poignant, minor-key work from the only major filmmaker to carry the torch of silent comedy into the 21st century is rich with feeling, even as it enters a self-reflexive zone that sometimes distracts from the legitimate concerns at its core.
By the time Suleiman’s character finishes his world trip and returns home, all he leaves us with is the reassurance that the Palestinian people are resilient and, eventually, will be free as well. That’s a terribly lazy note to end on. Some might even call it trivializing.
His film feels more like a collection of wonderfully envisioned set pieces that don’t fully form a coherent whole.
Whimsical and wistful yet infused with a yearning for the stability of place.
Audiences will likely approach the film a series of sketches linked as much by mood as by theme. Some hit the spot, two or three are laugh-out-loud funny, but others seem little more than space-fillers in a film that is both enjoyable and frustrating.
There are times when the passive, elusive quality of It Must Be Heaven, as with other Suleiman films, eluded me and felt mannered and superficial, but they are stylishly made with a distinctive signature.
Wry rather than uproarious, it’s a little uneven at times. But Suleiman is a master of slow-burning, cumulative humour; this is the kind of comedy that creeps up on you.