Between Exile and Homeland: The Films of Elia Suleiman

Nurith Gertz and George Khleifi

in Palestinian Cinema

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780748634071
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671069 | DOI:
Between Exile and Homeland: The Films of Elia Suleiman

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A comparison of Suleiman's two feature films, Chronicle of a Disappearance (1996) and Divine Intervention (2002), lends itself to a comprehensive review of what had transpired in Palestinian society in general and in its cinema in particular during the period between the signing of the Oslo peace accords and the Second Intifada. The two films are very similar in their construction, revolving around similar episodes. The differences between them however highlights the historical, ideological, and cinematic developments that took place in the short time that elapsed between the making of the first film and the production of the second. In the earlier film, we encounter diverse locations, Nazareth, the sea of Galilee, Jerusalem. Although these spaces are crowded and threatened, it seems possible to remain in them and to conduct one's daily life, albeit one charged with violence. In the second film there are no open spaces, and daily life has turned into a stagnant routine encumbered by hate, anger, and arguments. The chapter analyses the special aesthetics, irony, fantasy in Suleiman's films as well as the way they deconstruct plots and images, in postmodern way, while showing their interrelation with Palestinian reality.

Keywords: Elia Suleiman; Oslo peace accords; postmodernism; Nazareth; the sea of Galilee; Jerusalem

Chapter.  9625 words. 

Subjects: Film

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