Key Palestinian Films

Key Palestinian Films

1935 - Documentary about King Ibn Saud's visit to Palestine

by Ibrahim Hassan Sirhan


1982 - Return to Haifa

by Kasim Hawal

Return to Haifa

 Return to Haifa tells the story of a Palestinian family living under the Israeli occupation.
The film is based on Ghassan Kanafani's 1969 short story of the same name.

1987 - Wedding in Galilee

by Michel Khleifi

Wedding in Galilee

One of the first films made in Israel to feature an Arab point of view, Wedding in Galilee is a richly detailed allegory of marriage, tradition and national identity. The elder of a Palestinian village under Israeli military rule wants permission to hold a traditional wedding for his son that will go past the imposed curfew. The Army commander agrees on the condition that he and his officers be invited as guests of honor at the ceremony. Director Michel Khleifi’s extraordinary first feature is an erotic and often compelling meditation on two conflicting cultures who attempt to put aside their differences for one long day of celebration.

This film is awarded the International Critics Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the Golden Shell at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, the Tanit d’Or at the Carthage Film Festival, a Joseph Plateau Award, and the Belgian Film Critics Association’ Andre Cavens Award.

1996 - Chronicle of a Disappearance

by Elia Suleiman

Chronicle of a Disappearance

Chronicle of a Disappearance (Arabic: سجل اختفاء) is a 1996 drama film by Palestinian director and actor Elia Suleiman. Suleiman stars in the film along with his family members, his relatives, and other non-actors. Dhat Productions produced the film.

It won the Best First Film Prize at the Venice Film Festival, and the New Director’s Prize at the Seattle International Film Festival, and became the first Palestinian movie to receive a national release in the United States.

1996 - Haifa

by Rashid Masharawi


The lives of a group of inhabitants in a refugee camp on the Gaza Strip in the days leading up to the peace agreement signed by Arafat and Rabin in Washington - and the mixed emotions that ensue as seen through the eyes of Haifa.

2002 - Divine Intervention

by Elia Suleiman

Divine Intervention

Divine Intervention (Arabic: يد إلهية‎) is a 2002 film by Palestinian director Elia Suleiman, which may be described as a surreal black comedy. 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, whose girlfriend lives several checkpoints away in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The film won the Jury Prize and the FIPRESCI Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It also won the Special Jury Prize at the Chicago International Film Festival and the Screen International Award at the European Film Festival.

2002 - Rana’s Wedding

by Hany Abu-Assad

Rana's Wedding

One morning, spirited Rana (Clara Khoury), a Palestinian teenager living in Jerusalem, receives a startling note from her father, Abu Siad (Zuher Fahoum): She can either get married or emigrate with him to Egypt later that afternoon. Rana dashes off to find her boyfriend, Khalil (Khalifa Natour), but must negotiate menacing Israeli checkpoints and strict Islamic law as she races across the West Bank. She begins to wonder if she really wants to stay after all.

 The film won the Grand Prize at the Cologne Mediterranean Film Festival, where cast member Clara Khoury was named as Best Actress. It also won the Golden Antigone award from Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival, the Golden Anchor award from Haifi International Film Festival, and the Nestor Almendros award for courage in filmmaking at the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival. 

2003 - The Olive Harvest

by Hanna Elias

The Olive Harvest

The Olive Harvest is a 2003 Palestinian film directed by Hanna Elias. It won the "Best Arab film" award for 2003 at the Cairo International Film Festival, and it was Palestine's submission to the 77th Academy Awards for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film but was not accepted as a nominee.

2003 - Like Twenty Impossibles

by Annemarie Jacir

Like Twenty Impossibles

Like Twenty Impossibles is an independent short film written and directed by Annemarie Jacir in 2003. It received attention when it became the first-ever short film from the Arab world to be chosen as an Official Selection of the Cannes International Film Festival.

The film won Best Short Screenplay at the Nantucket Film Festival, Best Short Film at the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival, Best Short Film (Emerging Narrative) at IFP/New York, Silver Plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival, Best Short Film at the Institute Du Monde Arabe Biannual, Best Screenwriting at the Lenola Film Festival, Audience Choice Award at the Polo Ralph Lauren Columbia University Festival, Special Jury Prize at the Ramallah International Film Festival, Audience Choice Award at the San Diego Women Film Festival, and Luis Trenker Award for Best Short Film at the 4Film Festival. It is also the first short film from the Arab world to be chosen as an Official Selection of the Cannes International Film Festival.

2005 - Paradise Now

by Hany Abu-Assad

Paradise now

Khaled (Ali Suliman) and Said (Kais Nashef) are Palestinian friends recruited by a terrorist group to become suicide bombers in Tel Aviv. Armed with explosives, they attempt to cross into Israel but are pursued by suspicious border guards. Khaled returns to the terrorists, while Said sneaks into Israel and ponders detonating at another target. After Khaled and Said reunite to begin their mission again, Khaled has reconsidered, and tries to convince Said to give up the bombing as well.

The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film; the Amnesty International Film Prize, AGICOA 2005 Blue Angel Award, and Reader Jury of the Berliner Morgenpost at the Berlin International Film Festival; Best Screenplay at the 2005 European Film Awards; Best Foreign Film at the 2005 Independent Spirit Awards; Best Foreign Language Film at the 2005 National Board of Review Awards; Best Feature Film and Best Editing at the 2005 Netherlands Film Festival; Best Director at the 2005 Durban International Film Festival; Best Foreign Language Film at the 2005 Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards; and Best Foreign Film at the 2005 Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award.

2005 - Maria’s Grotto

by Buthina Canaan Khoury

Maria's Grotto

An Arab woman will be condemned to death if she is found guilty of disgracing her family. The Arabic concept of "family disgrace" is strongly related to a women's virginity, or rather, the loss of it. A woman who dares to break these rules will face many problems within her family and her community and her behavior may be punished with death. Usually, the death sentence is executed by the youngest male member of the family in order to serve as a moral example for the rest of the women. Palestine filmmaker Buthina Canaan Khoury’s essential documentary revolves around all this. In four chapters it approaches a series of murders perpetrated by a culture in the name of "honor".

2008 - Salt of this Sea

by Annemarie Jacir

Salt of this Sea

Soraya, 28, who lives in New York, is of Palestinian Muslim origin. What Soraya experiences on returning to Palestine, which is now under Israeli Jewish rule, is the basis of the film.  

The film won the FIPRESCI Prize – International Critics Awards at the International Federation of Film Critics; Best Film at the Sguardi Altrove Film Festival; Special Jury Prize at the Osians Asian & Arab Film Festival; Best First Film at the Traverse City Film Festival; Special Jury Prize at the Oran International Festival of Arab Cinema; the Randa Chahal Prize at the Jornees Cinematographiques de Carthage; Best Screenplay at the Dubai Film Festival; Audience Choice Award at the Houston Palestine Film Festival; and Audience Choice Award – Best Feature at the Chicago Palestine Film Festival.

2008 - Slingshot Hip Hop

by Jackie Reem Salloum


Slingshot Hip Hop is a 2008 documentary film directed by Jackie Reem Salloum which traces the history and development of Palestinian hip hop, in the Palestinian territories from the time DAM pioneered the art form in the late 1990s  

 The film premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and goes on to win more than 13 awards.

2009 - Amreeka

by Cherien Dabis

Poster Art

A Palestinian single mother and her son are harassed by the Israeli soldiers. Later, they win an American green card and decide to relocate to the United States.

2009 - The Time that Remains

by Elia Suleiman

The Time that Remains

The Time That Remains is a 2009 semi-biographical drama film written and directed by Palestinian director Elia Suleiman. The film stars Ali Suliman, Elia Suleiman, Saleh Bakri and Samar Qudha Tanus. It gives an account of the creation of the Israeli state from 1948 to the present.

The film won the Jury Grand Prize at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, and the Critics Prize of the Argentinian Film Critics Association at Mar del Plata International Film Festival.

2012 - When I Saw You

by Annemarie Jacir

When I Saw You

Tarek and his mother, Ghaydaa, cross the border from Palestine to Jordan along with tens of thousands of other people.

2013 - Omar

by Hany Abu-Assad

Omar 2013

Arrested after the death of an Israeli soldier, a Palestinian baker (Adam Bakri) agrees to work as an informant, but his true motives and alliances remain hidden.

2013 - Palestine Stereo

by Rashid Masharawi

Palestine Stereo

Two brothers from the West Bank are left homeless by an Israeli air strike and do odd jobs to raise money to emigrate to Canada.

2014 - The Wanted 18

by Amer Shomali & Paul Cowan

The wanted 18

Palestinians in Beit Sahour start a local dairy farm, hiding a herd of 18 cows from Israeli security forces when the dairy collective was deemed a threat to Israeli national security.

The film won the award for Best Documentary from the Arab World at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the Golden Tanit for best documentary film at the Carthage Film Festival, and the Best Documentary award at the Traverse City Film Festival.

2015 - Love, Theft and Other Entanglements

by Muayad Alayan

Love, Theft and Entanglements

A Palestinian car thief gets into trouble when he finds a kidnapped Israeli soldier in the trunk of the car he stole.

2015 - The Idol

by Hany Abu-Assad

The Idol

Talented teenage singer Mohammed Assaf (Tawfeek Barhom) travels from the Gaza Strip to Egypt to audition for the television show "Arab Idol."

2015 - 3000 Nights

by Mai Masri

3000 Nights

A young Palestinian woman fights to protect her newborn son, survive and keep hope alive in an Israeli prison.

2017 - Ghost Hunting

by Raed Andoni

Ghost Hunting

Some Palestinians who were held in an Israeli detention center are assembled to re-enact their experience in an effort to heal.

2019 - Wajib

by Annemarie Jacir


A father and his estranged son must come together to hand-deliver his daughter's wedding invitations to each guest.

The film won the Muhr awards for Best Fiction Feature Film and Best Actor at the Dubai International Film Festival, the Golden Crow Pheasant for Best Film at the International Film Festival of Kerala, the Arab Critics Award for Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival, and the Golden Astor for Best Film and Silver Astor for Best Actor at the Mar del Plata International Film Festival.

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