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Suleiman works on new film ‘Time’

Director also writes, stars in project

Palestinian Elia Suleiman is making his long-awaited return to features with “The Time That Remains,” a $6.5 million project that he will write, direct and star in.

Helmer’s previous feature “Divine Intervention” won the Jury Prize at the 2002 Cannes Fest.

French shingle Pyramide Films has put up most of the coin for the new film, and will distribute it in Gaul as well as handle the international sales. Pic is a co-production with Italy’s Bim Distribuzione and Belgium’s Artemis Films, with the Eurimages fund and Gaul’s paybox Canal Plus also providing coin.

Suleiman will lense the tentatively titled project in New York, Paris and Israel. It tells a semi-autobiographical story of a Palestinian family from the 1948 creation of Israel to the present day.

“It’s a different angle on a similar theme,” Suleiman said.

“We will see the same character Elia played in ‘Divine Intervention,’ but when that film came out Elia used to say the chaos was in Israel. Now the chaos is all over the world,” said Fabienne Vonier, Pyramide prexy. “The film has black humor, nonsense and absurdity. We have to find a way to talk about the darkness of the world without frightening the audience.”

Pyramide execs are also in negotiations to get a Mideast partner on the project.

Suleiman has contributed one of the short films for Cannes topper Gilles Jacob’s specially commissioned portmanteau “To Each His Own Cinema” to celebrate the fest’s 60th anniversary. The three-minute short was set and shot in Nazareth.

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