Michel Khleifi

Canticle of the Stones (Le Cantique des Pierres)



This documentary-feature tells the story of two Palestinians who fall in love during the sixties. Due to the political climate, their relationship is denied its full expression when he is condemned to life imprisonment for acts of resistance against the Israelis and she emigrates to America to overcome her sorrow. Eighteen years later, they meet at the height of the Intifada. She is now a scholar and is in Jerusalem to research the meaning of sacrifice in Palestinian society, only to find him liberated and working for an agricultural aid organisation. Their feelings for each other are rekindled but time has not made things any easier. They are surrounded with chaos and violence and must struggle once more to maintain their ties. 



Michel Khleifi -- 100’ (Palestine/Belgium: 1990)

Fertile Memory (Al-Dhakira Al-Khasba)


About the Film

Written in 1978, Fertile Memory was the first film to be made by a Palestinian director inside Israel's pre-1967 borders. Neither a documentary nor a feature film, Fertile Memory recounts the lives of two very different Palestinian women: Farah Hatoum, a widow living with her children and grandchildren, and Sahar Khalifeh, a West Bank novelist. Their differing opinions and differing lives play an important role in underlining their shared status as Palestinians under Israeli rule, and as women in a male-dominated society. Yet despite these contrasts, both mother and intellectual share the same struggle for freedom and dignity.



Michel Khleifi -- 99’, Arabic (Belgium/Palestine: 1980)

Forbidden Marriages in the Holy Land



A look at the lives and loves of eight interfaith and interethnic couples in Israel and occupied Palestine.



Michel Khleifi -- Documentary, 66', Arabic/Hebrew (Palestine/UK/Belgium: 1995)

Ma'aloul Celebrates Its Destruction (Ma'loul Tahtafilu bi Damariha)



Ma’aloul is a Palestinian village in Galilee. In 1948, it was destroyed by the Isreali armed forces and its inhabitants expelled either to Lebanon or to the neighboring town of Nazareth. Ever since, the former inhabitants of Ma’aloul are only allowed to visit it once a year on the anniversary of Israel’s independence and have developed a tradition of organizing a picnic on this day on the very site of the destroyed village.


Michel Khleifi -- Documentary, 30’ (Belgium: 1985)

The Order of the Day (L’Ordre du Jour)



Based on a novel by Jean-Luc Outers, one of Belgium's leading novelists, the film is a satire of modern bureaucratic man and his contradictions, with a mixture of surrealism and Kafkaesque comedy. Martin is a sort of post-Romantic anti-hero who feels trapped by the strange and abstract demands of a modern bureaucracy. At the same time, he is unable to muster either the will or the resources revolt against his fate and superiors – on the contrary, he seems to perpetuate and desire his fate.



Michel Khleifi -- 105’, French (Belgium: 1992)

Route 181: Fragments of a Journey in Palestine-israel


About The Film

Walls continue to be raised, barbed-wires laid down, new borders succeeding those already present in the collective unconscious of both peoples. What can cinema do before a situation so desperately devoid of hope? Sivan and Khleifi, faced with the tragic torments shaking their societies, come together in a sort of filmic act of faith. They believe that the only "realistic" solution rests in the prospect of a binational state where citizens share equal rights and duties for peaceful coexistence.

Route 181.jpg


Michel Khleifi & Eyal Sivan -- Documentary, 270’ (Germany/France: 2003)

Tale of Three Jewels (Hikayatul Jawahiri Thalath)



A mixture of realism and allegory set against the backdrop of the Palestinian uprising in Gaza. Youssef, a 12 year-old Palestinian boy, tries to win the love of Aida, a Gypsy girl. Aida offers her heart, but on the condition that he finds her grandmother’s lost jewels. Youssef is so smitten with Aida that he embarks on a mystical pursuit, which leads him to a wise old man, a mysterious scroll, death and resurrection.



Michel Khleifi -- Fiction, 107’ (Belgium/Palestine: 1995)

Wedding in Galilee



A classic in Palestinian feature filmmaking -- a traditional Palestinian wedding is affected when, as a stipulation for granting a permit for the celebration, a local Israeli military commander demands to be invited.



Michel Khleifi -- 111', Arabic/Hebrew with English Subtitles (Belgium: 1987)