Elia Suleiman 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.
Born in Nazareth on July 28th, 1960, Elia Suleiman lived in New York between 1981 and 1993. During this period, he directed his two first short films, 'Introduction To The End Of An Argument' and 'Homage By Assassination', which won him numerous prizes. In 1994, he moved to Jerusalem where 'The European Commission' charged him with establishing a 'Cinema' and 'Media' department at 'Birzeit University'. His feature debut, "Chronicle Of A Disappearance", won 'The Best First Film Award' at 'The 1996 Venice Film Festival'. In 2002, "Divine Intervention" won 'The Jury Prize' at 'The Cannes Film Festival' and 'The Best Foreign Film' prize at 'The European Awards' in Rome. His feature, "The Time That Remains", screened In 'Competition' at 'The 2009 Cannes film Festival'. In 2012, Elia Suleiman directed the short film 'Diary Of A Beginner', part of the portmanteau feature "7 Days In Havana", which screened that year in 'Un Certain Regard' at "The Cannes Film Festival'.
The man who finds his homeland sweet is still a tender beginner; he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong; but he's perfect to whom the entire world is a foreign land. The tender soul has fixed his love on one spot in the world; the strong man has extended his love to all places; the perfect man has extinguished his. Where do the birds fly after the last sky?” The film presents 'Palestine' as a microcosm of the world. "It Must Be Heaven" shows 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's intimate, tender and touching. It’s the personal and human stories that are based on identification which raise questions and raise hope. There's little dialogue; what's spoken is more like monologue to infuse rhythm and musicality. Otherwise the narrative of the film is knitted from a subliminal montage; scenes that are composed from choreographic movements; burlesque drawn from the world of the absurd; images that open up to the poetry of silence, which is at the heart of cinematic language.
"It Must Be Heaven" is a comic saga exploring identity, nationality and belonging, in which Suleiman asks the fundamental question; where is the place we can truly call home? A modern Jacques Tati figure sips wine and witnesses an oddball scene; someone is stealing fruit from his neighbor, taking permission for granted. Yet every day he encroaches a little more, as if he’s actually the owner. Elia Suleiman embodies another silent version of himself, coming up with new subtle and elusive ways to portray Palestinian ghettoization. This time, his alter ego distances himself from his aching homeland, in search of homeliness; yet, Paris and New York will prove hostile and hollow. When faced against the inherent chaos of life, what else is there to do but sit back and stare in bemusement?