The essential Palestinian films to watch on Netflix right now
(Credit: Netflix)


The essential Palestinian films to watch on Netflix right now

When convoluted history lessons tend to get too overwhelming, cinema often becomes the one medium that continues to make the most sense. Through fictionalised stories based on abject reality, Palestinian and Arab filmmakers have tried to highlight the suffering, joy, and truth of their people who have been struggling under oppressive occupation for decades now. And some of these stories—a mix of shorts, documentaries, and feature films—are there, waiting to be subsumed, in the Netflix library. Right now, might be the best time to dive in.

The Palestinian Stories Collection on Netflix is more than a film collection; it is a celebration of resilience, culture, and the power of storytelling to bridge gaps and foster understanding on a global scale. As these films found their home on Netflix, they continue to carry with them the hope of remoulding vitriolic narratives, shattering stereotypes, building connections, and fostering empathy for the Palestinian experience.

In the words of director Mahdi Fleifel, whose works like A Drowning Man and A World Not Ours are now a part of the Palestinian Stories Collection, this initiative provides a unique opportunity for a larger audience to immerse themselves in the exceptional storytelling that Palestinian cinema has to offer. “Finally! A larger audience can have this exceptional opportunity to avoid all social obligations and binge-watch my films in one sitting!” Fleifel told Netflix in 2021 when the decision was announced.

One of the features available in this collection is Elia Suleiman’s Divine Intervention, a cinematic sonnet full of wit and political poignancy. In the heart of the absurdity that is Israel’s war on Palestine, Suleiman’s deadpan humour orchestrates a symphony of silence punctuated by moments of surreal observation of living under occupation.

Divine Intervention‘s canvas is a playground of tension, where love and absurdity collide with grace. Suleiman, both director and protagonist, navigates this absurdist theatre with a stoic grace, delivering a visual poem that transcends borders.

Darin J. Sallam’s Farha and Firas Khoury’s Maradona’s Legs delicately weave tales that span decades in between, offering bittersweet glimpses into the lives of children caught in the shadows of genocide. From the hauntings of the 1948 Nakba to life in Palestine during the 1990 World Cup, these two films echo the enduring struggles of a generation under perpetual siege. 

Through the lens of personal stories, these films provide a nuanced understanding of the persistent challenges faced by Palestinians. With the majority of titles available for global streaming and subtitles provided in relevant languages, these films aim to transcend geographical boundaries

32 Palestinian films to watch on Netflix right now:

  • Farha
  • Omar
  • Divine Intervention
  • Maradona’s Legs
  • Born in Gaza
  • 3000 Nights
  • The Present
  • Pomegranates and Myrrh
  • Children of Shatila
  • A World Not Ours
  • Like Twenty Impossibles
  • 200 Meters
  • Salt of this Sea
  • When I Saw You
  • Habibi
  • Chronicle of a Disappearance
  • The Crossing
  • Frontiers of Dreams and Fears
  • Condom Lead
  • Eyes of a Thief
  • Ave Maria
  • Bonboné
  • Samouni Road
  • Giraffada
  • In Vitro
  • A Man Returned
  • Ibrahim, A Fate To Define
  • 3 Logical Exits
  • Ghost Hunting
  • A Drowning Man
  • Xenos
  • Mars at Sunrise