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.
Bye Bye Tiberias
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.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival