Palestinian Cinema in the Spotlight: 20 Essential Films / Available On Streaming Rental or Purchase


At this critical juncture in history, when Palestine is grappling with more atrocities and bombardments than ever before, films can serve as a potent means to deepen our understanding of and offer a glimpse into the harrowing devastation that has plagued the region for numerous years. At the core of Palestinian cinema, the most essential of which we’ve listed below, is moral intricacy. These narratives transcend mere depictions of occupation and war, delving instead into a profound understanding of what it truly feels like to inhabit an open-air prison. They capture the essence of fear, horror, and senseless violence, but also: the fundamental yearning for existence.

This list features films that express empathy for the Palestinian perspective, spanning various genres and filmmaking styles. While Little Palestine, Diary of a Siege evokes a profound emotional response, Tantura offers both disturbing and breathtaking moments. Elia Suleiman’s dark humor in The Time That Remains and It Must Be Heaven provides a unique perspective, simultaneously showcasing the impact of violence and the Palestinians’ resilience during times of siege. Noteworthy titles such as In Between, The Insult, and The Reports on Sarah and Saleem have achieved broader distribution, while films like Five Broken Cameras and Farha have gained widespread visibility. 

Despite their varying reach, each of these films with their diverse viewpoints enriches our understanding of the “Palestinian Cause,” and each of them demonstrates both the fragility and resilience of Palestinian cinema in the face of overwhelming restrictions and political pressures. Altogether, they’re a testament to the richness of Palestinian culture. Marked by their passionate originality and honesty, they deserve to be seen and appreciated. Here now, are 20 tales from Palestine.

1. Omar (2013), directed by Hany Abu-Assad

Streaming on Netflix and Kanopy. 

2. Little Palestine, Diary of a Siege (2021), directed by Abdallah Al-Khatib

Streaming on TrueStory.

3. Divine Intervention (2002), directed by Elia Suleiman 

Streaming on Netflix, available to rent on KinoNow.

4. In Between (2016), directed by Maysaloun Hamoud

Streaming on Kanopy and Film Movement Plus.

5. Five Broken Cameras (2011), directed by Emad Burnat

Streaming on Kanopy, available to rent on KinoNow.

6. Lemon Tree (2008), directed by Eran Riklis

Not streaming at the moment.

7. 200 Meters (2020), directed by Ameen Nayfeh

Available to rent on Amazon, Google Play, Apple, and Vudu.

8. The Time That Remains (2009), directed by Elia Suleiman

Streaming on AMC+ and DirecTV Stream. 

9. When I Saw You (2012), directed by Annemarie Jacir

10. The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (2018), directed by Muayad Alayan

Streaming on Plex and Freevee.

11. It Must Be Heaven (2019), directed by Elia Suleiman

Not streaming at the moment.

12. The Insult (2018), directed by Ziad Doueiri

Streaming on Kanopy, available to rent on Amazon.

13. Wall (2017), directed by Cam Christiansen 

Available to rent on Amazon.

14. Gaza (2019), directed by Garry Keane & Andrew McConnell 

Streaming on Tubi and Freevee.

15. 3000 Nights (2015), directed by Mai Masri

Streaming on Netflix.

16. Tantura (2022), directed by Alon Schwarz 

Available to rent on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, and YouTube.

17. Farha (2021), directed by Darin J. Sallam

Streaming on Netflix.

18. Children of Shatila (1998), directed by Jean Khalil Chamoun

Streaming on Netflix.

19. The Shadow of the West (1986), directed by Geoff Dunlop

Not streaming at the moment.

20. Born in Gaza (2014), directed by Hernán Zin

Streaming on Netflix.

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