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Elia Suleiman's Chronicle of a Disappearance

“MY LIFE MAKES ME LAUGH,” Elia Suleiman writes in his notes to Chronicle of a Disappearance. “I am far from being courageous. I hate venturing. I wish to settle down and lead a linear existence, but even when I purposely attempt to conform, something is bound to go wrong.” Suleiman’s first feature film is like a diary full of such false starts, but it is animated by wary optimism. Screened in New York recently in the “New Directors/New Films” series, copresented by the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, this truly thoughtful movie deserves to be seen by a larger audience—and thanks to the nonprofit distributor International Film Circuit, it is in fact about to become one of the rare films on the subject of Palestine to be released nationally in the United States.

The movie describes the filmmaker’s return to Palestine, which is also Israel, after a long self-exile

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