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A list of recommended films about Palestine.

Most of these films are available on DVD, and some are online.

For more information, the Palestine Film Foundation has an extensive database of films about Palestine and organises the annual London Palestine Film Festival.

Ajami (2009)

Nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2010 Oscars.
Misunderstanding and violence spiral out of control in Palestine and Israel. Omar has to pay for his uncle’s mistake; Malek is a Palestinian `illegal’ from Nablus who is working for Abu-Elias to pay off his mother’s medical bills; Dando is an Israeli policeman distraught at the disappearance of his conscripted brother; and Binj is an apolitical, hedonistic Arab despised by his friends for having a Jewish girlfriend.

Crime/Drama | 120 mins | Directed by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani

Al Nakba (2013)
A four-part series produced by Al Jazeera on the history of the expulsion of Palestinians from their lands that led to the first Arab–Israeli war in 1948, and the establishment of the state of Israel. The series spans the 19th and 20th centuries, including the British Mandate in Palestine, and up to the present day, documenting the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Arab, Israeli, and Western intellectuals, historians, and eye-witnesses provide the central narrative which is accompanied by archival material and documents, many only recently released for the first time.

Documentary series | Watch

Apples of the Golan (2012)
Nestled high on a mountainside in the Middle East, a Syrian Druze village has survived under Israeli occupation, while 136 others like it were wiped out. The surviving communities find ways of forging lives enriched with music, dance, and intrigue, despite the ever-present IDF forces.Documentary | 80 mins | Directed by Jill Beardsworth and Keith Walsh
Ave Maria (2015)
Nominated for Best Live Action Short Film at the 2016 Oscars.
Nuns of the Sisters of Mercy convent in the middle of the West Bank wilderness have their daily routine of silence and prayer disrupted when a family of religious Israeli settlers crash their car into the convent’s wall.

Short/Comedy | 14 mins | Directed by Basil Khalil | Watch

Back to One's Roots (Al Awda Ela Al That) (2009)
This documentary looks at the dilemma facing the Druze community in Israel by following the emotional struggle of Yaman, whose brothers and uncle lost their lives serving in the IDF. Co-opted by the Israeli state as a vulnerable and isolated community, the Druze have traditionally found employment in the army and police force, while remaining suspect in the eyes of many Israelis.

Documentary | 54 mins | Directed by Bilal Yousef

Bil’in Habibti (2006)
The village of Bil’in is about to lose over a half of its territory to the Wall and to the settlement of Modi’in Elite. The residents of the village decide to embark on a struggle against the construction of the barrier and are joined by international and Israeli activists. Director Shai Carmeli Pollak joins the village’s struggle for over a year, focusing on two central figures: Mohamed, a member of the village’s local committee against the wall, and Wagee, farmer and father of ten, who is losing the majority of his land to the wall and the settlement. The film reveals the relationship formed between the villagers and activists, against the back of their struggle. The film explores a struggle for nonviolent resistance and exposes the military’s use of undercover infiltrators (mustaravim) in order to “justify” the use of brutal force against villagers and activists alike.

Documentary | 85 mins | Directed by Shai Carmeli Pollak | Trailer

Boycott (2021)
When a news publisher in Arkansas, an attorney in Arizona, and a speech therapist in Texas are told they must choose between their jobs and their political beliefs, they launch legal battles that expose an attack on freedom of speech across 33 states in America.

Boycott traces the impact of state legislation designed to penalize individuals and companies that choose to boycott Israel due to its human rights record. A legal thriller with “accidental plaintiffs” at the center of the story, Boycott is a bracing look at the far-reaching implications of anti-boycott legislation and an inspiring tale of everyday Americans standing up to protect our rights in an age of shifting politics and threats to freedom of speech.

Documentary | 70 mins | Directed by Julia Bacha

Farha (2021)

Fourteen-year-old Farha dreams of attending school in the city with her best friend Farida, but she knows that, as the daughter of the mukhtar (the head of the village, played by Ashraf Barhom), she is in for an uphill battle against tradition. Girls Farha’s age are expected to marry.

It’s 1948, and British control over Palestine is coming to an end. What Farha and her father do not yet know is that forced displacements are already happening across the region. When Israeli bombs reach their village, Farha’s father locks her in the cellar of their home, promising to return as soon as he can. While Farha waits and watches through the cracks, the village she was so excited to leave is transformed to ruin, threatening an end to the future she had planned and leaving only trace memories in its wake.

A dauntless and compelling feature debut by Jordanian filmmaker Darin J. Sallam, Farha captures both the isolating terrors of war and the lingering beauty that can colour recollections of dispossession — a mental record of the last laugh shared, the faint smell of freedom before the void of exile. An impressive lead performance from newcomer Karam Taher punctuates catastrophic loss with uncompromising determination.

In this remarkable and devastating story, Sallam’s resonant directorial voice presents a penetrating perspective on the Nakba and returns the gaze to a cultural legacy in the midst of a global resurgence.

Drama | 92 mins | Directed by Darin J. Sallam | Trailer 

Fatenah (2009)
  The first 3D animated film made in Palestine. Fatenah is a 28-year-old woman living in the Gaza Strip. Her life is similar to the lives of many other women in Gaza. Her life changes the day she discovers to have breast cancer.

Short/ Animated fiction | 20 mins | Directed by Ahmad Habash | Watch

5 Broken Cameras (2011)
Winner of a 2012 Sundance Film Festival award and the 2013 International Emmy Award. Nominated for a 2013 Academy Award.
When his fourth son, Gibreel, is born, Emad, a Palestinian villager, gets his first camera. In his village, Bil’in, a separation barrier is being built and the villagers start to resist this decision. For more than five years, Emad films the struggle, which is led by two of his best friends, alongside filming how Gibreel grows. Very soon it affects his family and his own life. Daily arrests and night raids scare his family; his friends, brothers and himself are either shot or arrested. One camera after another is shot at or smashed. Each of the 5 cameras tells part of his story.

Documentary | 94 mins| Directed by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi | Trailer

Flying Paper (2014)
The uplifting story of resilient Palestinian youth in the Gaza Strip on a quest to shatter the Guinness World Record for the most kites ever flown.

Documentary | 52 mins | Directed by Nitin Sawhney and Roger Glenn Hill | Trailer

Free Running in Gaza (2011)
In the Khan Younis refugee camp in Gaza, Mohammed and Abdullah have found a way to distract themselves from the overcrowded tenements and squalid alleyways around them. Both young men have trained for years to become Gaza’s leading practitioners of parkour. Parkour involves traversing and scaling obstacles and barriers through running, jumping and vaulting. For Mohammed, Abdullah, and the latest generation of young Palestinians to have grown up in the camp undereducated and unemployed, it is the ultimate means of escape.

Short/ Documentary | 25 mins | Watch 

Gaza-London (2009)
December 27th 2009. A massive Israeli assault is underway on Gaza. Mahmoud is in London, his mother is trapped in Gaza, and he is desperately waiting for her to call. He agrees to take part in a radio program about Gaza, but the producers take away his mobile. For the next few minutes, he has to endure listeners’ questions, and a surprise guest who will reveal what has become of his mother. Gaza-London is an intimate portrayal of the helplessness and frustration many Palestinians felt as they watched from a distance while their loved ones lived the nightmare.

Short/ Drama | 14 mins | Directed by Dima Hamdan | Watch

Gaza Mon Amour (2020)
An old fisherman is in love with Siham, a woman who works at the market with her daughter. One day, he finds an ancient statue of Apollo in his fishing nets and decides to approach her with the discovery.

Romance/ Drama | 87 mins | Directed by Tarzan Nasser and Arab Nasser | Trailer

The Gatekeepers (2012)
A documentary featuring interviews with all surviving former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency whose activities and membership are closely held state secrets. What clearly amounts to torture is freely admitted, as are their methods of acquiring Palestinian informers and their accounts of targeted killings, in which they take especial pride (‘clean, elegant’). In the latter part of the film, the participants take a step back and consider what they have achieved. At the political level, they agree that their efforts have only strengthened the resistance, and the whole process has destroyed what they thought Israel stood for. The closing words sum it up: ‘We win the battles but we are losing the war.’

Documentary | 95 mins | Directed by Dror Moreh | Trailer

The Great Book Robbery: Chronicles of a Cultural Destruction (2012)
The story of 70,000 Palestinian books that were looted by the newly created State of Israel in 1948. The film interweaves various story lines into a structure that is both dramatically compelling and emotionally unsettling. The interviews centre on eyewitness accounts and cultural critiques that place the book theft affair in a larger historical-cultural context; in the process, new light is shed on the Palestinian tragedy of 1948 and the moralistic-heroic Israeli narrative of the 1948 war is deconstructed.

Documentary | 57 mins | Directed by Benny Brunner | Watch

Inshallah Beijing! (2008)
Ghadir dreams that at last someone will buy her some running shoes. Nader trains while hoping that a missile doesn’t land on him. Zakia hasn’t got a permit from the military authorities to get to the swimming pool. They are athletes belonging to the Palestinian team who leave Jericho in July 2008 to take part in the Beijing Olympic games. Inshallah, God willing – because a lot of difficulties must be overcome before reaching China. First and foremost, the difficulty in competing for a country that doesn’t exist yet – Palestine – and that doesn’t have the means to support its athletes. It won’t be easy to adapt because the war is not just at home: the athletes carry it inside them. Getting to Beijing is already a victory.

Documentary | 54 mins | Directed by Francesco Cannito and Luca Cusani | Trailer

The Iron Wall (2006)
In 1923 Vladimir Jabotinsky, leading intellectual of the Zionist movement and father of the right wing of that movement, wrote…“Zionist colonization must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population – behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.” From that day these words became the official and unspoken policy of the Zionist movement and later the state of Israel. Settlements were used from the beginning to create a Zionist foothold in Palestine. This film examines the establishment of Israeli settlements in the West Bank as part of a strategy for permanent occupation of the territory. Produced by the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees and Palestinians for Peace and Democracy, it features interviews with noted peace activists and political analysts, including Jeff Halper, Akiva Eldar, and Hind Khoury.

Documentary | 52 mins | Directed by Mohammed Alatar | Watch

Jerusalem... The East Side Story (2008)
Produced by the Palestine Agricultural Relief Committees, this documentary looks at the Israeli government’s policy regarding the city and its inhabitants and includes interviews with Palestinian and Israeli leaders, human rights activists, and political analysts, all of whom agree that the handling of Jerusalem, its settlements and its Arab and Israeli populations, is the key to peace.

Documentary | 56 mins | Directed by Mohammed Alatar | Watch

The Land Speaks Arabic (La Terre Parle Arabe) (2007)
Documents the late 19th century birth of Zionism and its repercussions for Palestinians. Brings together rarely seen footage of Palestine before 1948 juxtaposed with original source documents, eyewitness accounts, stunning choreography, moving testimonials, and interviews with historians. This award-winning film shows that the expulsion of the indigenous Arab population from Palestine was far from an accidental result of the 1948 war, shining a spotlight on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by the Zionist movement.

Documentary | 61 mins | Directed by Maryse Gargour | Watch

The Lab (2013)
Israel is a world leader in the international arms trade. Large Israeli companies develop the vessels of future warfare, which is sold worldwide by private Israeli agents who market it as “field tested” on Palestinians. At the same time, Israeli theoreticians explain to various foreign countries how to use the technology to defeat civil and para-military resistance. This film follows two private Israeli arms dealers as they go about their business with their clients, and documents how the Israeli military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank has been made into a marketable, highly profitable, national asset. It reveals a vicious circle in which new wars need new weapons and new enemies, thereby reinforcing the age-old bond between the profitable and the lethal.

Documentary | 60 mins | Directed by Yotam Feldman

The Law in These Parts (2011)
Award-winning Israeli documentary about the military court system operated by the IDF in the West Bank. Interspersed with archival material, it is based on interviews with nine retired military judges who speak with remarkable candour about the use of torture, and their belief that “security is above the law”.

Documentary | 101 mins | Directed by Ra’anan Alexandrowicz | Trailer

Man without a Cell Phone (2011)
A humorous, sharp take on the social milieu of a Palestinian village inside Israel. Jawdat, a restless young concrete worker, just wants to have fun with his friends, talk on his cell phone, and find love – a near impossible task in a place where politics and traditional values dominate. Adding to Jawdat’s problems is his curmudgeonly father, Salem, who establishes the film’s irreverent tone with his opening pronouncement of his people’s dilemma: “Co-existence, my ass!” Dragging Jawdat and the entire village into his outrageous battle against an Israeli cell phone tower that he fears is poisoning them with radiation, the father’s hysterical behavior stands in stark contrast to his son’s cool attitude to win the hearts of girls while wrestling with college entrance exams. Man Without a Cell Phone Social Comedy | 83 mins | Directed by Sameh Zoabi | Trailer
Mayor (2020)
An award-winning look at the life of Musa Hadid, the Christian mayor of Ramallah, during his second term in office. His immediate goals: repave the sidewalks, attract more tourism, and plan the city’s Christmas celebrations. His ultimate mission: to end the occupation of Palestine. Rich with detailed observation and humor, Mayor offers a portrait of dignity amidst the madness and absurdity of endless occupation while posing a question: how do you run a city when you don’t have a country?

Documentary | 89 mins | Directed by David Osit | Trailer

My Neighbourhood (2012)
Mohammed El Kurd is a Palestinian boy growing up in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in the heart of East Jerusalem. When Mohammed turns 11, his family is forced to give up part of their home to Israeli settlers, who are leading a campaign of court-sanctioned evictions to guarantee Jewish control of the area. Shortly after their displacement, Mohammed’s family and other residents begin protesting the evictions, determined not to lose their homes for good. In a surprising turn, they are quickly joined by scores of Israeli supporters who are horrified to see what is being done in their name. My Neighbourhood follows Mohammed as he comes of age in the midst of unrelenting tension and remarkable cooperation in his backyard. Highlighting Mohammed’s own reactions to the highly volatile situation, reflections from family members and other evicted residents, accounts of Israeli protesters and interviews with Israeli settlers, the film chronicles the resolve of a neighbourhood and the support it receives from the most unexpected of places.

Short/ Documentary | 25 mins | Directed by Julia Bacha and Rebekah Wingert-Jabi | Watch

Nowhere Left to Go (2012)
Documents the ongoing struggle of the Jahalin Bedouin in the Jerusalem periphery, campaigning to prevent their forced displacement by the Israeli military authorities. Some twenty encampment communities are threatened imminently; in the long-term, apparently some 27,000 Bedouin and other Palestinian herders are threatened with forced displacement from Area C of the OPT. Under international humanitarian law, these would be grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, and war crimes.

Short/ Documentary | 28 mins | Directed by Harvey Stein | Watch

Occupation 101 (2006)
Presents a comprehensive analysis of the facts and hidden truths surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and dispels many of its long-perceived myths and misconceptions. The film also details life under Israeli military rule, the role of the United States in the conflict, and the major obstacles that stand in the way of a lasting and viable peace. Unlike any other film produced on the conflict, ‘Occupation 101’ explains the complicated reality with precision storytelling through a series of highly stylized visual edits, and gives audiences a complete context with which to better understand the Israeli-Palestinian debate. The roots of the conflict are explained with thought-provoking commentaries from leading Middle East scholars, peace activists, journalists, religious leaders and humanitarian workers whose voices have too often been suppressed in American media outlets.

Documentary | 90 mins | Directed by Abdallah Omeish and Sufyan Omeish 

100 Years After Balfour (2017)

A film by Independent Jewish Voices about the history of the Balfour Declaration, and its legacy up to the present. The film features seven experts and activists, each of whom offer a distinct Jewish voice on the Declaration and the unfolding of its long-term impact over the past century. These powerful and lucid voices together offer a compelling and cogent range of insights into the troubled history of the Middle East, and powerfully demonstrate the continued vibrancy among Jews in Britain of political dissent and solidarity with Palestinians. Featuring: Professor Avi Shlaim, Professor Jacqueline Rose, Rabbi Howard Cooper, Professor Brian Klug, Antony Lerman, Barnaby Raine and Miri Weingarten.

Short/ Documentary | 25 mins | Watch 

Open Bethlehem (2013)
Follows award-winning Palestinian director Leila Sansour’s extraordinary journey to the city of Bethlehem, the place where she grew up.  ​Armed with a camera and a family car that keeps breaking down, she sets out to create an intimate chronicle of a historical town in peril. Ten years on, with 700 hours of footage, the result is nothing like she had expected. This film is an emotional journey of one woman in a struggle to save her hometown. It takes viewers deep into Bethlehem and paints portrait of the town as it has never been seen before.

Documentary | 90 mins | Directed by Leila Sansour | Watch

Over the Wall - Football Beyond Borders (2012)
An unlikely and ambitious hour-long documentary that touches on the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the Arab Spring and the role football can play in overcoming prejudice and discrimination. It follows a 2011 tour of the Middle East by London’s SOAS University football team, organized with the help of Football Beyond Borders, an organization that uses the universal power of the sport to tackle political, social and cultural issues.

Documentary | 60 mins | Directed by Jasper Kain and Matthew Kay | Trailer | Q&A

Palestinians in Iraq: Displaced in Diaspora (2012)
Produced by Al-Jazeera Documentary and the Palestine Return Centre.

This film documents the suffering of Palestinian refugees in Iraq and looks into the attempts of NGOs to help them. It further documents their ongoing suffering in the countries they were resettled in, such as Brazil, Cyprus, India, Sweden, Norway, and Britain.

Documentary | 52 mins | Directed by Jamel Dallali. | Watch

Permission to Narrate (2013)
Short film produced by students of Bir Zeit University. Covers issues of access and of representation of Palestinian history and geography in school curricula.

Short/ Documentary | 12 mins | Watch

The Present (2020)
Nominated for the 2021 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. Winner of the 2021 BAFTA Award for Best Short Film.
On his wedding anniversary, Yusef and his daughter, Yasmine, set out in the West Bank to buy his wife a gift. Between the soldiers, segregated roads and checkpoints, how easy would it be to go shopping?

Short/ Drama | 25 mins | Directed by Farah Nabulsi | Trailer

Private (2004)
Mohammed, a Palestinian teacher, lives with his family in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. When violence erupts near their house, Mohammed refuses to evacuate, despite the fears of his wife, Samia. Israeli soldiers occupy the residence’s top floor, arousing the hatred of their son, Yusef, and daughter, Mariam, who spies on the men. Despite being given freedom to leave, Mohammed insists that his family stick together in their house.

Psychological drama | 90 mins | Directed by Saverio Costanzo | Trailer

The Promise (2011)
A four-part drama that originally aired on Channel 4. It follows a young British girl who travels to Palestine, retracing the steps of her grandfather, who was a British soldier stationed there in the 1940s.

Drama mini series | Directed by Peter Kosminky

Salt of This Sea (2008)
Official Selection of the Cannes International Film Festival in 2008.
Born in Brooklyn to Palestinian refugee parents, Soraya decides to journey to the country of her ancestry to retrieve her grandfather’s savings, which have been frozen in a Jaffa bank account since his exile during the 1948 Nakba.

Drama | 109 mins | Directed by Annemarie Jacir | Trailer

Slingshot Hip Hop (2008)
An invigorating documentary portraying the story of three aspiring Palestinian musicians from the rap group DAM as they develop their talent in their bedrooms and take it to standing-room-only crowds throughout historic Palestine. The film traces the history and development of hip hop in Palestine from the time DAM pioneered the art form in the late 1990s. It braids together the stories of young Palestinian artists living in Gaza, the West Bank, and inside Israel as they discover hip hop, and employ it as a tool to surmount divisions imposed by occupation and poverty.

Documentary | 80 mins | Directed by Jackie Reem Salloum

Tears of Gaza (2010)
Harrowing documentary on the fate of families during and after Israel’s bombing of Gaza in Operation Cast Lead, 2008-2009. The film shows the devastating effects of war on the women and children living in Gaza, and the difficulties faced in their everyday lives. Forced to live in tents or ruins, food, water, money, and electricity are in short supply. The film is based on the imagery taken by people themselves in Gaza during the war, with some additional material from the few foreign journalists who were present.

Documentary | 90 mins | Directed by Vibeke Løkkeberg

Though I Know the River Is Dry (2013)
Winner of the Prix UIP at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2013.
He has returned to Palestine. On the fraught road through the country he relives the choice that sent him to America and the forces of history now driving him home.

Short/ Drama | 22 mins | Directed by Omar Robert Hamilton

200 Meters (2020)
The Israeli separation wall sits between a Palestinian man and his family. Denied entry on a technicality, he will stop at nothing to reach his injured son.

Drama | 97 mins | Directed by Ameen Nayfeh | Trailer

Where Should the Birds Fly? (2013)
The first film about Gaza made by Palestinians living the reality of Israel’s siege and blockade of this tiny enclave. It tells the stories of two young women: Mona Samouni, an 11 year old girl whose family died when her home was hit by Israeli rockets during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09; and Fida Qishta, the filmmaker, whose story begins with the destruction of her family home in 2004, follows her work as a videographer documenting the daily life of Gazan fishermen and farmers struggling to work under siege, and concludes with the Israeli military attack at the end of 2008. The film reveals the strength and hope, the humanity and humor, that flourish among the people of Gaza. Few films document so powerfully and personally the impact of modern warfare and sanctions on a civilian population.

Documentary | 61 mins | Directed by Fida Qishta | Watch

Women in the Stadium (2011)
Documents the burgeoning world of women’s soccer in Palestine, featuring four pioneering players telling their inspirational stories.

Documentary | 52 mins | Directed by Sawsan Qaoud | Watch