BYE BYE TIBERIAS – 2024 Review of a Sublime and Transcendent Film That Should Be Seen More Than Once

Directed by Lina Soualem. Written by Director Soulaem, Nadine Naous and Gladys Joujou. Starring Hiam Abbass, Um Ali and Nemat Abbas. Producer Jean-Marie Nizan. Composer Amin Bouhafa. Cinematographer Frida Marzouk. Editor Gladys Joujou.

– Excerpt from Press Notes Q&A of Director Lina Soualem

Everything I experienced with my first film, THEIR ALGERIA, led me to BYE BYE TIBERIAS. Both films explore exile and transmission, how information gets passed down through generations. I’m half Algerian, half Palestinian, born in France. On the Palestinian side of my family we survive through speaking; passing on our story is central. On the Algerian side, silence is preferred; we hide our truths deep within us. It’s for this reason I had to make THEIR ALGERIA first.

I needed to break this silence to reconcile us with our past and to reconstitute and reclaim our history. This time it felt like I was making a film as a young woman who has the experience and courage to tell a story about women in Palestine, a place which, at least politically, is a trickier subject to essay.

The story of the colonization of Algeria by France tackled in THEIR ALGERIA at least is in the history books. It was harder to make BYE BYE TIBERIAS as it’s an ongoing history, with Palestine and Palestinians still being erased today.

{Note: BYE BYE TIBERIAS opened in NYC theaters January 12 and is scheduled to open in LA theaters January 19. Click, Fandango Here.}

Film Synopsis: Hiam Abbass left her native Palestinian village of Deir Hanna in Lower Galilee (Israel) to follow her dream of becoming an actress in Europe, and she did more than that, becoming internationally recognized as an esteemed thespian and noted filmmaker. She was in her early 20s when she left her mother, grandmother and seven sisters, though the leaving was more like fleeing a soul-crunching intolerable situation – as audiences will bear witness for 1 hour, 22 minutes.

Thirty years later, her highly regarded filmmaking daughter, Lina Soualem, returns with mom to Deir Hanna for Lina’s ethnographic film project in which she reveals, 1, the reasoning and decisions of her mother’s bold choices in leaving; 2, her chosen exile, and 3, the way women in their family influenced lives of everyone in familia and intimate contact with them.

Hiam Abbass, left, and Lina Soualem, la ate evening in Deir Hanna village. Credit Frida Marzouk Beall Productions

BYE BYE TIBERIAS pieces together contemporary images of today with family footage from the 90s and with historical archives to portray four generations of daring-to-do, derringdo Palestinian women who keep their stories and legacies alive through the strength of their bonds in the face of excruciating exile, dispossession and searing heartbreak. For audiences, it will be into your soul this film will seep.


Wedding, 80s Deir Hanna village Collection,  Lina Soualem.j



Early on in my initial take reviewing BYE BYE TIBERIAS, I was laboring, virtually, to keep eyes open during stretches of the 82-minute film when a sudden visceral twitching pulse pinged that there was more to the film than I was realizing. This has had happened before reviewing sublime cinematic jewels of complex depths that I misinterpreted or misread, so, because I was fortunate to have a screener to do my review, I watched BYE BYE TIBERIAS a second time in a quick turnaround, and it was as if every scene, shot, sequence was exquisite and mesmerizing or bordering on mesmerizing – and a film score now radiating powerfully.

A third take, however, felt like all essential filmic elements of BYE BEY TIBERIAS were swept into a cosmic gestalt catapulting me into an incredible fly-on-the-wall transcendental experience: I was an invisible invited guest watching an incredible ethnographic memoir.

Lina Soualem and Hiam Abbass reviewing wall collage of family. Credit Thomas Brémond_Beall Productions.

I believe my first impression (errant as it was) had to do with my reading a spate of news stories, like the ones recently published in the New York Times – ‘All the News That’s Fit to Print’ – headlines like, “Israel Faces Accusation of Genocide as South Africa Brings Case to U.N. Court” and “Don’t Turn Away From the Charges of Genocide Against Israel” and “U.N. Warns Gaza Is Heading for Famine as Specter of Wider War Looms.” The body count and the toll of escalating and escalating. The first impression also was tripped with me trying to assimilate so much information regarding relationships as well as geography – and so on and so forth. An amazing film experience.


Diana, Buthayna and Hanan. Credit Frida Marzouk – Beall Productions


Editor, Publisher Gregg W.,