Elia Suleiman

The Arab Dream (Al-Hilm al-’Arabi)



Commissioned by ARTE network as part of a series of films for the end of the millenium, this film is a travelogue through Jerusalem, Nazareth and Ramallah. The film is a meditation on quotidian injustices, and a formulation of an aesthetic and creative response to them.


Elia Sulieman -- 30' (Palestine/France: 1998)

Chronicle of a Disappearance (Sijl Ikhtifa’)


About the film

What does it mean to be Palestinian in the second half of the twentieth century? Filmmaker Elia Suleiman returned to the land of his birth to answer that question. Born in Nazareth in 1960, well after the establishment in 1948 of the State of Israel in historic Palestine, Suleiman lived for twelve years in self-imposed exile in New York. He returned to attempt to find his roots in a culture that had been uprooted. Chronicle of a Disappearance is a personal meditation on the spiritual effect of political instability on the Palestinian psyche and identity.



Elia Suleiman -- 88’ (France/Palestine: 1996)

Cyber Palestine



A modern day Joseph and Mary living in Gaza, try to reach Bethlehem on the turn of the millennium -- to arrive on time would be a miracle.


Elia Suleiman -- 106’ (Palestine: 2000)

Divine Intervention (Yadun Ilahi)



In Nazareth, under a guise of normalcy, the town embraces folly. The Palestinian people, unable to act on their feelings of oppression, take out their hostilities on one another. A love story takes place between two Palestinians: a man living in Jerusalem and a woman living in Ramallah. The man shifts between his ailing father and his love life, trying to keep both alive. Because of the political situation, the woman's freedom of movement ends at the Israeli army checkpoint between the two cities. Barred from crossing, the lovers' intimate encounters take place on a deserted lot right beside the checkpoint. The lovers are unable to exempt reality from occupation. They are unable to preserve their intimacy in the face of a siege. A complicity of solemn desire begins to generate violent repercussions and, against the odds, their angry hearts counter-attack with spasms of spectacular fantasy.


Elia Suleiman -- 92’, Arabic/Hebrew/English (Palestine/France/Morocco/Germany: 2002)

Homage by Assassination (Segment in “The Gulf War: What Next?”)



This is the fifth part of the collective film titled Gulf War, What Next? It films a Palestinian man reflecting on the war in the Persian Gulf and on the related media coverage. The man is the filmmaker himself, cloistered in his claustrophobic studio in New York as Nazareth, his native city, and is threatened by the Iraqi Scud missiles launched against Israeli cities, during the Iraqi-Persian War. This short diary-report style film follows up the routines of Suleiman's day that he performs: He ties his bootlaces, boils milk on the stove, observes from the window a couple's quarrel in the street, weighs himself repeatedly on the scale, goes to the bathroom, makes phone calls and works on editing his film.


Elia Suleiman -- 27’ (Palestine/Tunisia/US: 1992)

Introduction to the End of an Argument



This highly kinetic tableaux of uprooted sights and sounds works most earnestly to expose the racial biases concealed in familiar images. Relying on valuable snippets from feature films such as "Exodus", "Lawrence of Arabia", "Black Sunday", "Little Drummer Girl", and network news shows, the filmmakers have constructed an oddly wry narrative, mimicking the history of Middle East politics.


Elia Suleiman -- 45’, English (Canada: 1990)

Irtebak (segment in “To Each His Own Cinema”)



Elia Suleiman’s segment, Irtebak, was part of To Each His Own Cinema (Chacun son cinéma), a French anthology film commissioned for the 60th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival. The film is a collection of 34 short films, each 3 minutes in length, by 36 acclaimed directors. Representing 5 continents and 25 countries, the filmmakers were invited to express "their state of mind of the moment as inspired by the motion picture theatre.”


Elia Suleiman -- 3’ (2007)

The Time That Remains



"The Time that Remains" is a semi biographic film, in four historic episodes, about Elia Suleiman’s family - spanning from 1948, until recent times. The diaries of Suleiman’s father inspire the film. They are his personal accounts, starting from when he was a resistant fighter in 1948, and his mother’s letters to family members who were forced to leave the country since then.

Combined with Suleiman’s 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.



Elia Suleiman -- 109’, Arabic/Hebrew/English (UK/Italy/Belgium/France: 2009)