Unfortunately, once again our news feeds are dominated by tensions in Israel and it seems that there’s unlikely to ever be a satisfactory resolution to this lengthy conflict. Whilst there are often Israeli films at European festivals it’s much rarer to get content from Palestinian directors. Let’s be honest, occupation tends to focus the mind but they’re not helped by Hamas’ Cultural Ministry censoring anything that doesn’t comply with their edicts.
Elia Suleiman seems to have made a bigger splash outside his homeland than most, his films frequently appear at Cannes. It Must Be Heaven is another offbeat charm. Elia Suleiman escapes Palestine and begins his quest to discover an alternative homeland. His journey takes him out of Nazareth from Paris to New York, but wherever he goes our unlikely hero keeps finding reminders of home. Each step of the way turns into a comedy of errors and nothing quite goes to plan.
It Must Be Heaven picks up where his first three films left off. Suleiman is a profoundly inquisitive filmmaker. One who is constantly tackling the big questions in his own idiosyncratic way. This is done through comedy here, a mix of Woody Allen, Jacques Tati and Roy Andersson. The deep blackness of his humour melds with the bleakness of the situation, but this feels less focussed in It Must Be Heaven. Whilst he addresses many of the big issues, the message is slightly more abstruse.
It Must Be Heaven is out in cinemas from 18 June.