It Must Be Heaven

February 19, 2020

In this his fifth feature, which won a Jury Special Mention at Cannes 2019 and is Palestine’s Oscar submission for Best International Feature Film, director Elia Suleiman, a famed figure in Palestinian cinema, explores the world with his trademark, wide-eyed wonder—one that belies an incisive critique of nationalism and identity. Suleiman stars in his own film, personally investigating the meanings of being in exile and in search of a home.

Filmed in Nazareth, Paris, and Montreal - masquerading as New York City - It Must Be Heaven, comprises comedic vignettes, some darker than others. Suleiman embellishes small details in each, his style edging ever closer to the surreal, in an attempt to capture the experience of a perpetual outsider, and to suggest that normality is often absurd. He also points to how biases in the real world are equally present in the film world, as the movie loosely follows his quest to get his film funded with one French producer telling Suleiman his idea “isn’t Palestinian enough”! Suleiman’s keenly observed episodes can seem like unrelated black comic incidents until the whole fabric of his theme begins to appear. He pointedly ridicules the pomposity of uniformed officialdom, using comedy as a kind of rhetorical non-violence.

“Whimsical and wistful yet infused with a yearning for the stability of place, Heaven, will have gates opened throughout the European indie circuit and potentially further afield.” -Jay Weissbert, Variety

Arabic, English, French with English subtitles
Rated: Not Rated
101 minutes
4 - 5:41 & 7 - 8:41

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