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"Chronicle of a Disappearance" (1996) Elia Suleiman


Since the ending of World War II, the culture of Palestine has been diminishing. Due to conflict with Israel, they lost a substantial amount of land, which confined the Arabic Palestinians to several small areas. In response to the conflict, a Palestinian filmmaker, actor and director, Elia Suleiman created his first feature film, “Chronicle of a Disappearance”. This film was released in 1996, when the Israel-Palestinian peace process was stalled during this time. In the film, Suleiman used montages and perspectives of how daily life was in this small culture.


The illustration of the difficult day-to-day life for Palestinians was exemplified when Adan was introduced. Her issue was when she was trying to get an apartment, but she would not be able to get one because she is a Palestinian Arab. Following World War II, more and more land was controlled by Israel, which lead to the disappearance of the Arab Palestinian culture. To the present, Palestinians are often restricted for movement into certain areas and discriminated against others. This movie clearly illustrated the present moment of 1996 where nearly almost the entire country is controlled by Israel.


The director, Elia Suleiman told a story of how the police and laws were unfair, corrupt and dangerous to the Palestinians. About one hour into the movie, Elia found a walkie talkie on the street, and then he began to listen to it. Upon listening, he imagined what it would look like when the police would raid Palestinian homes. This was because the police were targeting a lot of Palestinian families. Adan received the walkie talkie from Suleiman and then she began to play pranks because they are being treated poorly. She sang the Israelian National Anthem in an awkward way over the walkie talkie because she wanted to promote equality and to help everyone be at peace within the society. Lastly, the television networks were all Israeli, which prevented the Palestinians enjoy their own culture. There were a few instances where the culture was changing. One instance was that there a priest complaining about an increase of tourism, which would ruin their landmarks and culture. Another was that Elia’s mother and father were watching television, and the television played the Israel National Anthem then they were forced to learn and watch stuff about the Jewish religion and culture, which was dehumanizing for them.


As the movie ended, viewers realized that the Israelis were unfortunately not favoring the Arabic and Palestinian culture, which was very disorienting for the Palestinians. This situation has some similarities to when America had conquered more land from the Native Indians, which was also an awful situation like this instance. The Arabic Palestinian culture continues to suffer from social inequality with the Israelis. As a result of this movie, viewers from around the world were able to see how people are less connected and how they managed everyday life. As a result of this movie, viewers may understand in depth how and why Palestine’s culture is starting to disappear, hence the title of the movie.

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