Chronicle of a Disappearance

1 hour and 27 Minutes and 56 seconds , 1996
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Directed by: Elia Suleiman
Cast: Elia Suleiman, Fuad Suliman, Bassam Zuamut, Ola Tabari

This is filmmaker Elia Suleiman’s debut film which he wrote and directed under the initials, E.S. In the film, Suleiman plays a version of himself; it is a film diary of sorts – a cross between narrative fiction and a documentary that follows the story of an exiled Palestinian director’s homecoming after years of being away. The director examines reality, his native country, everything that has changed and all that has remained – in his family, the day-to-day, the mundane, and the political. And whilst the film does not have a plot per se, what it does feature is an individual’s highly intimate, albeit slightly distant point-of-view of reality, presented in a series of short sketches. The film moves between Nazareth and Jerusalem and also features Suleiman’s own family. Notably, the director himself hardly ever speaks which is perhaps the reason why he was not once dubbed, “The Palestinian Chaplin / Jacques Tati. Chronicle of a Disappearance was shown at many festivals round the world and took home the Luigi De Laurentiis Award for Best Debut Film at the Venice Film Festival.

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