Award-winning Palestinian films coming to Netflix: five titles not to miss

Oscar-nominated short 'Ave Maria' and documentaries by filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel are among titles that will begin streaming this week

Handout of AVE MARIA” Film, the Short Film Competition at Cannes Film Festival, directed by Basil Khalil. Courtesy of MAD Solutions and Quat Media.  NOTE: For Christopher Newbould Story, May 2015. *** Local Caption ***  al25ma-Ave Maria-1-p4.jpg
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Works by award-winning Palestinian filmmakers including Elia Suleiman, Annemarie Jacir and Basil Khalil are scheduled for release on Netflix this October under a new collection called Palestinian Stories.

Starting Thursday, Khalil's 2015 Oscar-nominated short Ave Maria, Jacir's Salt of this Sea and Suleiman's Divine Intervention will be available on the streaming platform, among other titles.

Five titles by Palestinian documentary filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel will be available: A Man Returned (2016), A Drowning Man (2017), 3 Logical Exits (2020), Xenos (2014)and A World Not Ours (2012). Fleifel, who won the Black Pearl Award for A World Not Ours at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival in 2012, focuses his work on the refugee experience.

Raed Andoni's moving documentary Ghost Hunting and Mai Masri's feature 3000 Nights are also among the list of films to be shown.

The collection, curated by Front Row Filmed Entertainment, will have a total of 32 films, including some titles that are already on the streaming platform.

Here is our pick of the five films to see, among the new titles:

'Ghost Hunting'

In this film, Andoni documents the process of interviewing Palestinians who have previously been held in Israeli prisons, re-enacting their experience as a way to heal their trauma. The film won the Berlinale's first Silver Bear for Best Documentary and was screened at international festivals around the world.

'Ave Maria'

This funny short tells the story of five Palestinian nuns in the West Bank whose silent routine is interrupted when an Israeli settler family crashes into the convent wall. The film gave Khalil his first Oscar nomination and won numerous awards.

'A World Not Ours'

Fleifel narrates and directs this personal documentary of growing up at the refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh, in southern Lebanon. We follow the director as he grows up and moves with his family to Europe, while still coming back to visit family and friends at the camp. It's a moving and must-see piece of work, which screened at international film festivals and won a number of awards.

'Divine Intervention'

Suleiman's satirical drama follows the story of Palestinian lovers who are separated by a checkpoint. As typical of Suleiman's style, the film has limited dialogue. It went on to win the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2002 and became the first Palestinian film to ever be submitted for consideration at the Oscars.

'Maradona's Legs'

This fictional short follows the story of two young boys who are looking for the last missing sticker they have in order to complete their world cup album and win a free Atari game. It's a heartwarming story that shows a slice of Palestinian life in the 1990s through the eyes of two little boys.

Here are all new titles by Palestinian filmmakers coming to Netflix:

- Salt of this Sea (by Annemarie Jacir)

- When I Saw You (by Annemarie Jacir)

- Ghost Hunting (by Raed Andoni)

- Ave Maria (by Basil Khalil)

- Frontiers of Dreams and Fears (by Mai Masri)

- Children of Shatila (by Mai Masri)

- 3000 Nights (by Mai Masri)

- A Man Returned (by Mahdi Fleifel)

- A Drowning Man (by Mahdi Fleifel)

- 3 Logical Exits (by Mahdi Fleifel)

- A World Not Ours (by Mahdi Fleifel)

- Xenox (by Mahdi Fleifel)

- Divine Intervention (by Elia Suleiman)

- Paradise Now (by Hany Abu-Assad)

- Chronicle of a Disappearance (by Elia Suleiman)

- In Vitro (by Linda Sarsour)

- Maradona's Legs (by Firas Khoury)

- The Crossing (by Ameen Nayfeh)

- Bonbone (by Rakan Mayasi)

- Condom Lead (by Arab and Tarzan Nasser)

- Mars at Sunrise (by Jessica Habie)

- Girafada (by Rani Massalha)

- Samouni Road (by Stefano Savona)

- The Wanted 18 (by Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan)

Updated: October 22, 2021, 5:35 AM