It Must Be Heaven

DIRECTOR(S): Elia Suleiman   COUNTRIES: France, Germany, Turkey, Canada   YEAR: 2019   LANGUAGE(S): French   SUBTITLES: German   RUNNING TIME: 97 min

SECTION: Previews at Cinecittà 2019


Saturday, 05.10., 8.00 pm, Cinecittà


ES escapes from Palestine seeking an alternative homeland, only to find that Palestine is trailing behind him. The promise of a new life turns into a comedy of errors: however far he travels, from Paris to New York, something always reminds him of home. From award-winning director Elia Suleiman, a comic saga exploring identity, nationality and belonging, in which ES asks the fundamental question: where is the place we can truly call home?

Director’s Statement
IT MUST BE HEAVEN tries to show the world as if it were a microcosm of Palestine. It shows ordinary everyday situations of people across the world living in a climate of geopolitical global tension. And the violence erupting in one place is similar to the violence erupting in another. Images and sounds containing this violence or tension are being felt in all the world centers and not, as in the past, just somewhere in the far corners of the world. There are checkpoints in each country at airports and in shopping malls. Police sirens and security alarms are no longer intermittent but constant.
Rather than focus on the ‘larger’ picture constantly bombarded by the mass media, always generalized, masked and falsified, IT MUST BE HEAVEN depicts the moment in the margin, the trivial, or that which is usually out of focus. Consequently, it approaches what is intimate, tender and touching. It’s the personal and human stories that are based on identification which raise questions and raise hope.


Born in 1960 in Nazareth, Elia Suleiman lived in New York from 1981-1993. While in the United States, he directed his first two short films: Introduction to the End of an Argument and Homage by Assassination, winning numerous awards. In 1994, he settled down in Jerusalem, where the European Commission entrusted him with the mission of creating a Film and Media Department at Birzeit University. His first feature film, Chronicle of a Disappearance, won the Best First Film Prize at the 1996 Venice Film Festival. In 2002, Divine Intervention won the Jury Prize at the Festival de Cannes as well as the Screen International Award 2002 – for a non-European Film at the European Film Awards in Rome.


Chronicle of a Disappearance (1996), Divine Intervention (2002), The Time That Remains (2009), It Must Be Heaven (2019)

SCRIPT: Elia Suleiman   PRODUCERS: Elia Suleiman, Thanassis Karathanos, Martin Hampel, Edouard Weil, Laurine Pelassy, Serge Noel   CAMERA: Sofian El Fani   EDITOR: Véronique Lange   MUSIC: CAST: Elia Suleiman, Ali Suliman, Natascha Wiese

PRODUCTION: Pallas Film, Rectangle Productions, Nazira Films, Possibles Media   WORLD SALES: Wild Bunch   GERMAN DISTRIBUTOR: Neue Visionen Filmverleih Gmbh