Renowned Palestinian director Elia Suleiman’s new film It Must Be Heaven recently won the Jury Special Mention award at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. It is now on its way to the 92nd Academy Awards as the official Palestinian entry in the foreign-language film category.
A proud moment for the Palestinian film industry, Suleiman’s fourth film has been nominated for various festivals around the world. After winning the Jury Special Mention and the Fipresci Critics’ Award at Cannes 2019, the movie will also be showcased at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) as a part of the Masters Program.
The satirical-comedy film, which stars the director himself, explores the struggles in Palestine. As Suleiman travels between France and New York, he witnesses surprising similarities to his hometown. Through his feature, the director aims to put the situation of his birthplace in an international context.
The critically acclaimed director is famed for studying the Palestinian film landscape. His first film Chronicle of a Disappearance was shown at the 1996 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Best First Film Prize. Suleiman’s second feature Divine Intervention screened at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and was awarded the Jury Prize as well as the Fipresci Prize. Additionally, the director’s third film The Time That Remains participated in Cannes 2009 and TIFF 2009. The drama film also won the Jury Grand Prize at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
Since 2003, Palestine has received only two nominations at the Academy Awards. If It Must Be Heaven passes the Oscar bid, it will rank amongst an elite group of Palestinian movies: Paradise Now in 2006 and Omar in 2013.