Programme

BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH

Najwa Najjar

Palestine, Iceland, Luxembourg, 2019 / 95 min / Arabic, Hebrew & French OV with English subt. / Road-movie, Drama

Luxembourgish Premiere

This divorce story in a form of a road movie takes you on a journey that explores the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Salma, a thirty-something Palestinian woman from Nazareth, and Tamer, the son of a Palestinian activist killed in Beirut in the 1970s have been married for 5 years, living in the Palestinian territories. The first time Tamer is given a three-day permit to cross into Israel, is to file for divorce. Upon reaching the court, in a Kafkaesque turn of events, the couple is told that their request for divorce can’t be processed due to a shocking secret from Tamer’s father’s past that questions Tamer’s identity. This revelation sends them spinning on an emotional road trip as they now only have only three days to find Tamer’s father’s last remaining former lover that could vouch for him. As the story unfolds, they discover that there used to be a time in this war-torn country when love and hope weren’t so complicated and dividing lines did not yet exist.

Between Heaven and Earth shows the very different Palestinian and Israeli dreams awakened by a nightmare. It takes place today, a time marred with religious fundamentalism, walls and occupation, and the results of two decades of war in the region. A time filled with questions with no answers.” Director’s statement by Najwa Najjar

Screenings
Sun 08/03 21:00 Ciné Utopia Arabic, Hebrew & French OV with EN subt. Avant-première https://ticket.luxembourg-ticket.lu/luxfilmfest/webticket/shop?event=28834&kassi...

“the young actors Mouna Hawa (as Salma) and Firas Nassar (as Tamer) are confident and sure-footed in depicting their ever-evolving relationship […] As atypical as it is for a film to show middle-class Palestinians inhabiting a fashionable modern house with a swimming pool and driving a chic vintage Merc, it is probably even more of an eye-opener to find that contemporary gender equality issues underlie and undermine their relationship.” Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, 31/01/2020

“A couple going through a divorce who realise that they still have things in common and are hanging onto some mutual affection is a clear and effective metaphor for the conflict in the Middle East, at least in terms of the way it is presented in the film: away from the politics, squabbles and attacks. Salma and Tamer […] are tired and weary. They want to split and live the rest of their lives in peace. For the man, this won’t be possible until he confronts his painful past, admits the trauma he’s been through and starts the healing process. The conflict between Salma and Tamer […] pulsates with an authentic energy, and for this, much credit must be given to the actors.” Ola Salwa, Cineuropa, 26/11/19

Awards
  • Best Screenplay, Cairo International Film Festival, 2019 (Egypt)
Cast & Credits
Cast 
Mouna Hawa, Firas Nassar, Faris Husari, Ebaa Monder, Buraq Nashashibi, Khaled Massou, Adeeb Safadi, Huda Iman, Mahmoud Shawahdeh. Amal Kais
Screenplay 
Najwa Najjar
Cinematographer 
Tómas Örn Tómasson
Sound 
Michel Schillings
Set 
Christina Schaffer
Music 
Tamer Karawan
Production 
Ustura Films, Paul Thiltges Distributions, Oktober Films
Distribution 
Paul Thiltges Distributions
Biography

Najwa Najjar is a Palestinian screenwriter and director. She received her BA in Political Science and Economics, her MA in Film in the United States. She has worked in both documentary and fiction as a director, writer and producer of various short films. Her first fictional feature film was the critically acclaimed multi award-winning debut Pomegranates and Myrrh (2009). Her second award-winning feature film Eyes of a Thief (2014) was the Palestinian nomination for the 2015 Oscars Best Foreign Film and the Golden Globe Awards. Between Heaven and Earth (2019) is her third feature. Her previous work includes award-winning documentaries and shorts which have screened worldwide, among others in Berlin, Cannes and Locarno: Yasmine’s Song (2006) , Naim and Wadee’a (2000), Quintessence of Oblivion (2001), Blue Gold (2004), A Boy Called Mohamad (2002) and They Came from the East which opened the European Film Awards in 2004. Najjar has also produced a collection of short films by international filmmakers, Gaza Winter (2009). In 2002 Hani Kort and Najwa Najjar established Ustura Films Ltd. in Ramallah, Palestine. The production company’s mission is to create alternative narratives, develop the budding local cinema industry and support artists in the field. In 2012 Kort and Najjar registered another branch of the company in Amman, Jordan.

Filmography
  • 2019 – Between Heaven and Earth
  • 2014 – Eyes of a Thief
  • 2009 – Pomegranates and Myrrh
  • 2006 – Yasmine’s Song (court-métrage / short / Kurzfilm)
  • 2004 – They came from the East (court-métrage / short / Kurzfilm)
  • 2004 – Blue Gold (court-métrage documentaire / documentary short / Dokumentarkurzfilm)
  • 2002 – A Boy called Mohammed (court-métrage documentaire / documentary short / Dokumentarkurzfilm)
  • 2001 – Jawhar Al Silwan (court-métrage documentaire / documentary short / Dokumentarkurzfilm)
  • 2000 – Naim and Wadee'a (court-métrage documentaire / documentary short / Dokumentarkurzfilm)