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Toronto International Film Festival : Bye Bye Tiberias / Exclusive Interview with Writer/Director Lina Soualem and Subject Hiam Abbass

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Synopsis : Years after leaving her Palestinian village to pursue an acting career in France, Hiam Abbass (Succession) returns home with her daughter, filmmaker Lina Soualem, in this intimate documentary about four generations of women and their shared legacy of separation.

At the age of 23, Hiam Abbass (known for her roles in Red Satin, The Visitor, and Gaza mon amour from TIFF ’20, as well as hit series Succession and Ramy) made the difficult decision to leave her grandmother, mother, and seven sisters in the Palestinian village of Deir Hanna to pursue acting in France. Years later, with her daughter, the film’s director Lina Soualem, in tow, Abbass began annual returns to her rapidly changing childhood home during the summer, each of their visits captured on home video by Soualem’s father, French actor Zinedine Soualem.

Abbass would take Soualem to Lake Tiberias, also known as the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus is said to have walked on water. Abbass’s grandparents, Um Ali and Hosni Tabari, were expelled from Tiberias in 1948. From the water, Abbass would show Soualem the world she was also a part of: an Arab world divided by conflict and colonial interference that redetermined the landscape, still joined however by family, mountains, rivers, and valleys with Syria to the east, Lebanon to the north, Jordan to the south.

Braiding together old and new family records with pre-1948 archival material, including poetry and personal narrative, Soualem — in a trenchant and assured follow-up to her feature debut Their Algeria — tells a meditative story about four generations of women working hard to mend the seams of multiple separations, forced and chosen.

Genre: Documentary

Original Language: French

Director: Lina Soualem

Producer: Jean-Marie Nizan Writer: Lina Soualem, Nadine Naous

Runtime: 1h 22m

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Karen Benardello
Karen Benardellohttps://cinemadailyus.com
As a life-long fan of films and television shows, and an endless passion for writing, Karen Benardello decided to combine the two for a career. She graduated from New York's LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic in 2008. Karen has since been working in the press in New York City, including interviewing film and television casts and crews, writing movie and television news articles and reviewing films and televisions series. Some of her highlights include attending such local events as the Tribeca Film Festival, the New York Film Festival and New York Comic-Con, as well as traveling across North America to attend such festivals as the Sundance Film Festival, SXSW and the Toronto International Film Festival. She has been a member of the Women Film Critics Circle since 2012, and the New York Film Critics Online since 2019.


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