A Journey of Four Generations: How Palestinian Women Survived and Thrived

A new documentary film by Lina Soualem, titled “Bye Bye Tiberias”, premiered at the Venice Film Festival on September 3, 2023. The film is an intimate portrait of four generations of Palestinian women who lived through exile, dispossession and heartbreak, but also love, resilience and hope.

The filmmaker and her mother return to their roots

Lina Soualem is a Paris-based documentarian who made her directorial debut with “Their Algeria”, a film about her paternal grandparents’ decision to separate after more than 60 years of marriage. For her second feature, she decided to explore the maternal side of her family, which has its roots in Palestine.

A Journey of Four Generations: How Palestinian Women Survived and Thrived
A Journey of Four Generations: How Palestinian Women Survived and Thrived

Soualem’s mother is Hiam Abbass, a renowned Palestinian actress who has appeared in films such as “Paradise Now”, “The Visitor” and “Blade Runner 2049”. She also plays Marcia Roy, the cunning wife of Logan Roy, in HBO’s hit series “Succession”.

Abbass left her ancestral village of Tiberias in Palestine in her early twenties to pursue her dream of becoming an actress in Europe. In the process, she left behind her mother, grandmother and seven sisters, along with questions that haunt her to this day.

Soualem and Abbass embarked on an emotional journey to revisit their family’s history and reconnect with their relatives who still live in Palestine. The film follows them as they travel from Paris to Tiberias, a city that was once home to a vibrant Palestinian community but is now part of Israel.

The film portrays the strength and legacy of Palestinian women

“Bye Bye Tiberias” is not only a personal story, but also a collective one. It portrays the lives of four generations of Palestinian women who faced different challenges and choices in their times.

The film uses family footage and historical archives dating back nearly a century to show how these women kept their story and legacy alive through the strength of their bonds. It also shows how they managed to take their destiny into their hands, despite the limited options available to them in patriarchal Palestinian society and the political turmoil that began with the forced displacement of more than 700,000 Palestinians in 1948, with the creation of the Israeli state.

The film is a tribute to the bravery and perseverance of these women, who survived wars, occupation, exile and loss, but also experienced joy, laughter, romance and solidarity. It is also a celebration of their culture, identity and heritage, which they preserved and passed on to their children and grandchildren.

The film received critical acclaim at Venice Film Festival

“Bye Bye Tiberias” premiered at the Venice Film Festival on September 3, 2023, as part of the Orizzonti Extra section. The film received critical acclaim from both audiences and reviewers, who praised its honesty, sensitivity and beauty.

The film was described as “a moving and powerful documentary” by Variety , “a captivating and inspiring portrait of Palestinian womanhood” by The New Arab , and “a masterpiece of family storytelling” by Cineuropa .

The film will also screen at the Toronto Film Festival later this month. Lightdox is handling world sales for the film.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *