PALESTINIAN FILMS TO WATCH
Film has always been a powerful medium for storytelling, with an ability to engage and move an audience like no other. In Palestine, documenting daily life, struggles and hopes served a revolutionary medium for artists and creatives to contribute to collective resistance.
We’ve rounded up some tremendous films from Palestine over the years that provide a deeper understanding of Palestinian culture, and a closer look into the difficult, emotional, and inspirational moments of daily life.
1) The Time That Remains (2009)
Directed by renowned Palestinian Director Elia Suleiman, this semi-autobiographical drama is Suleiman’s account of the creation of Israel from 1948 to present.
2) 5 Broken Cameras (2011)
This 94-minute Academy Award nominated documentary film co-directed by Palestinian Emad Burnat and Israeli Guy Davidi is a first-hand account of protests in Bil’in, a West Bank village affected by the Israeli West Bank barrier. The documentary was shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son.
3) The Present (2020)
The Present is a 2020 short film directed by Farah Nabulsi and co-written by Nabulsi and Hind Shoufani, about a father and daughter in the Palestinian enclaves of the Israeli-occupied West Bank trying to buy a wedding anniversary gift.. The film was most recently nominated for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.
4) Rana’s Wedding (2002)
Shot in Jerusalem under the direction of the Palestinian Director Hany Abu-Assad. Rana’s Wedding tells the story of a woman seeking to marry her love, facing barriers of occupation which have become an everyday reality.
5) Gaza Fights for Freedom (2019)
This debut feature film by journalist Abby Martin began while reporting in Palestine was filmed during the height of the Great March Of Return protests. The film features exclusive footage of demonstrations and tells the story of Gaza past and present, showing rare archival footage that explains the history never acknowledged by mass media.
6) Tale of the Three Jewels (1995)
Directed by Michel Khleifi, this young love story is about Youssef, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy who tries to win the love of Aida, a beautiful Gypsy girl. The film is set against the backdrop of the Palestinian uprising in Gaza.
7) 200 Meters (2020)
Palestinian director Ameen Nayfeh’s debut drama tells the story of Mustafa and his wife Salwa, who are from two Palestinian West Bank villages only 200 meters apart but split by Israel’s separation wall. The film shows the life-threatening struggles of daily life under occupation.
8) Divine Intervention (2002)
Divine Intervention is a film Directed by and starring Elia Suleiman. The film consists largely of a series of brief interconnected sketches, but for the most part records a day in the life of a Palestinian living in Nazareth.
9) 3000 Nights (2015)
The internationally co-produced drama film directed by Mai Masri focuses on a Palestinian woman, who whilst in jail, gives birth to a son.
10) Chronicle of a Disappearance (1996)
Chronicle of a Disappearance was Elia Suleiman’s first feature film, in which he plays himself returning to Israel and the West Bank after a long absence. The film follows a series of vignettes and sketches, with an intention to convey the feelings of restlessness and uncertainty from Palestinian statelessness.
11) They Do Not Exist (2003)
Mustafa Abu Ali’s 1974 film covers conditions in Lebanon’s refugee camps, the effects of Israeli bombardments, and the lives of guerrillas in training camps.
12) Paradise Now (2003)
Directed by Hany Abu-Assad, Paradise Now follows Palestinian childhood friends Said and Khaled who live in Nablus and have been recruited for suicide attacks in Tel Aviv. The story focuses on what would be their last days together.
13) A World Not Ours (2003)
A World Not Ours directed by Mahdi Fleifel is an intimate, humorous, portrait of three generations of exile in the refugee camp of Ain el-Helweh, in southern Lebanon based on a wealth of personal recordings, family archives, and historical footage.
14) The Wanted 18 (2003)
The Wanted 18 is an animated documentary about the efforts of Palestinians in Beit Sahour to start a small local dairy industry during the First Intifada, hiding a herd of 18 dairy cows from Israeli security forces when the dairy collective was deemed a threat to Israel’s national security. The film combines documentary interviews with those involved in the events, archival footage, drawings, black-and-white stop-motion animation as well as re-enactments, and was co-directed by Canadian filmmaker Paul Cowan and Palestinian visual artist and director Amer Shomali.
15) Wedding in Galilee (2003)
Directed by Michel Khleifi in 1987, Wedding in Galilee is based around the wedding of a young couple in a Palestinian village in Galilee, ruled by an Israeli military governor.
16) Ghost Hunting (2003)
In this documentary film directed by Raed Andoni, released Palestinian prisoners of Israel relive and recreate harrowing experiences from their time in Israeli detention facilities.
17) Wajib (2003)
Directed by Annemarie Jacir, this Palestinian drama film tells the story of a father and son travel amid wedding preparations in the lead-up to Christmas in Nazareth.
18) Jenin, Jenin (2003)
Directed by Mohammad Bakri, Jenin, Jenin is a documentary on the 2002 deadly confrontations between armed Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.