8 user 7 critic

Chronicle of a Disappearance (1996)

| Drama | 1996 (Israel)
5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Separated by a checkpoint, Palestinian lovers from Jerusalem and Ramallah arrange clandestine meetings.

Director: Elia Suleiman
Stars: Elia Suleiman, Manal Khader, George Ibrahim
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An examination of the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 through to the present day.

Director: Elia Suleiman
Stars: Menashe Noy, Elia Suleiman, Baher Agbariya
Paradise Now (2005)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Two childhood friends are recruited for a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.

Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Stars: Kais Nashif, Ali Suliman, Lubna Azabal
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A semi-autobiographical account of Makmahlbaf's experience as a teenager when, as a 17-year-old, he stabbed a policeman at a protest rally. Two decades later, he tracks down the policeman he injured in an attempt to make amends.

Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Stars: Mirhadi Tayebi, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Ali Bakhsi
Al-makhdu'un (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Set in Iraq (but shot in Syria), this is the story of three men who try to leave their impoverished and hopeless lives to get get work in Kuwait. They hire a water-truck driver to transport... See full summary »

Director: Tewfik Saleh
Stars: Mohamed Kheir-Halouani, Abderrahman Alrahy, Abdul Rahman Al Rashi
Omar (2013)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A young Palestinian freedom fighter agrees to work as an informant after he's tricked into an admission of guilt by association in the wake of an Israeli soldier's killing.

Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Stars: Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Eyad Hourani
Caramel (2007)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A romantic comedy centered on the daily lives of five Lebanese women living in Beirut.

Director: Nadine Labaki
Stars: Nadine Labaki, Joanna Moukarzel, Gisèle Aouad
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A woman's terribly dull life is upended by a one-night stand pregnancy, causing her to seek retribution.

Director: Aki Kaurismäki
Stars: Kati Outinen, Elina Salo, Esko Nikkari
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Directors: Borhane Alaouié, Néjia Ben Mabrouk, and 3 more credits »
Stars: Raouf Ben Amor, Najate Atabou, Touria Hadraoui
Al-kompars (1993)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Salem dreams of being an actor but is still working in a gas station, only his love for Nada can make things easier for him.

Director: Nabil Maleh
Stars: Bassam Kousa, Wafaa Mouselley, Mohammed Esh-Sheikh Naguib
Salaam Cinema (1995)
Documentary | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Makhmalbaf puts an advertisement in the papers calling for an open casting for his next movie. However when hundreds of people show up, he decides to make a movie about the casting and the ... See full summary »

Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Stars: Shaghayeh Djodat, Behzad Dorani, Feizola Gashghai
Action | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  

Tweed, Bird, and Johnny are three outcasts who just want to belong. Obsessed with computer games they buy one from a street peddler and end up entering an alternate universe, much like ... See full summary »

Director: Elia Suleiman


Credited cast:
Elia Suleiman ... Himself
Nazira Suleiman Nazira Suleiman ... Mother
Fuad Suleiman Fuad Suleiman ... Father
Ali Suliman ... The Man
Juliet Mazzawi Juliet Mazzawi ... The aunt
Fawaz Eilemi Fawaz Eilemi ... Abu Adnan
Leonid Alexeenko Leonid Alexeenko ... Priest
Iaha Mouhamad Iaha Mouhamad ... The writer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Stephan Abib Stephan Abib ... Radio and Phone Voice
Nawal S. Abu Kartoumah Nawal S. Abu Kartoumah ... Whisling scene the couple
Mahmoud Abu Khamis Mahmoud Abu Khamis ... Men exanging cigarettes
Bassam Abu Nassar Bassam Abu Nassar ... Customer
Ibrahim Abu-Jummah Ibrahim Abu-Jummah ... Man with Dentures
Haim Adri Haim Adri ... Radio and Phone Voice
Walid Aun Ali Walid Aun Ali ... Whisling scene the couple


Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

palestine | 1990s | See All (2) »




See all certifications »



Palestine | Israel | USA | Germany | France


Arabic | Hebrew | French | English

Release Date:

1996 (Israel) See more »

Also Known As:

Chronik eines Verschwindens See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



See full technical specs »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Wry twists
19 February 2005 | by Chris KnippSee all my reviews

The title "Chronicle of a Disappearance" has misled you if you expect a tale of mystery or espionage. In fact it's hardly a literal chronicle at all. It's mostly just vivid little fragments from a few people's mundane lives. Only toward the end we see how everything points back to the director and his dilemma as an essentially stateless person. He's a Palestinian Arab back in Jerusalem after twelve years of film study and residence in New York and he's overwhelmed with a sense of irony and powerlessness.

The movie is composed of short snippets, many of them static. The texture and style resemble closely Suleiman's more recent -- and more effective -- effort, "Divine Intervention" (Yadon ilaheyya, 2002). The latter holds together better through using recurrent scenes and themes. And it achieves greater emotional resonance through focusing on a couple whose meetings are blocked by Israeli checkpoints. But this first full-length film has the same wry humor and thoughtful observation that we see in Suleiman's latest work.

This chronicle-less "Chronicle" lacks continuity and is choppy, at times seemingly almost meaningless. Even directors with static camera styles like Ozu, Hou, or Tsai could seem action directors by comparison. Nonetheless those of us who've spent some serious time in the Arab World are delighted by certain moments, such as the Matisse-like image of a fat lady sprawled asleep on a sofa while a particularly soulful rendition of the Moslem call to prayer echoes in the background; or various little ironic, highly Arab gestures like the men ritually lighting each other's cigarettes; a pair who jump out of a car to fight but are stopped by passers-by; women preparing garlic and chattering in a kitchen; the classic image of guys sitting on stiff little straight-backed chairs smoking in front of a shop, and so on.

An ironic update on the culture comes when we see a man (the filmmaker's father) playing backgammon, the essential café game, alone in his room on a computer -- but still puffing on a café-style water pipe. This is mentioned in a review online by an American Jewish writer, half of whose reactions are negative and stereotypical for one of his background. This points up how easy it is to misread such quiet work coming from such a violent region. It's interesting in itself that Suleiman makes avantgardist films from the point of view of a Palestinian resident in Jerusalem. In this theater of engagement and conflict, he is quiet and detached. His work is wryly political, but always deftly ironic, understated, resigned. Those who find clearcut advocacy in Suleiman are probably misreading him and violating the subtlety of his thinking. Since Suleiman's vision is highly personal it inevitably includes his Palestinian identity, but his essential point is the way that identity makes him a non-person. This, then, is the "disappearance" the film chronicles.

Suleiman himself is his own perfect star. With his sad, sensitive face, he's an Arab Buster Keaton. He appears at a gathering where he is introduced and applauded but cannot even begin to describe his film-making because mike feedback and loud cell phone conversations in the audience continually interrupt him. Another time his new flat is invaded by two Israeli soldiers who march around, ignoring him, and then troop out, later including him only near the bottom of their inventory of the flat's contents.

This is a cinema of understatement, so much so that one can easily miss what's there: you're lulled by the static quality and minimalism into missing the ironies. One writer for instance comments that the night boating fishermen "dis" everyone on shore, overlooking he fact that the speaker is trashing everyone but the relative of the man sitting next to him, whom he says are tops--a simple enough joke, and yet one that slipped by.

Perhaps the IMDb Comment by a writer from Tel Aviv is wisest in saying that this "Chronicle" is "highly recommended" because there are moments of "brilliance" but also cautions that "the film does not flow and never really follows a set rhythm." (No doubt other Israelis would also find the IDF buffooneries funny -- this one calls Suleiman's Israeli soldiers "dumb and dumber.") American Jewish viewers, sometimes more extreme, have considered it an affront that a filmmaker who designates himself as Palestinian should set a movie in Jerusalem -- as if by doing so he were claiming Israeli territory. In fact Palestinians do live in Jerusalem, as they long have.

Simplistically pro-Israeli US viewers may have trouble with the fact that Suleiman's "terrorist" is a woman whose strapped-on bomb tripwires set off nothing more than a fireworks display, and whose derailing of IDF patrols by speaking Hebrew with a good accent into a found walkie-talkie is nothing but an absurdist practical joke. (Her good Hebrew doesn't enable her to rent an Israeli-owned flat, even over the phone; once they hear her name, they reject her.) Other tools of terrorism such as hand grenades turn out to be merely cigarette lighters; viewers of "Divine Intervention" will recall the hospital where everyone constantly smokes, even patients on IV's.

Efforts to pigeonhole Suleiman are clumsy. This is, however misleading the title, the chronicle of a disappearance: Suleiman is an invisible man, like Ralph Ellison's African American, who does not exist and has no voice in the place of his birth. Suleiman's world is one in which people are powerless. His chief weapon is wry humor.

The film appeals only to a small audience, and even they have reservations: but from this first effort Suleiman has staked out a special aesthetic, technical, stylistic corner of the cinematic world in as distinctly his own, and for that he deserves full credit.


Watched on a Fox Lorber-released videotape. I reviewed "Divine Intervention" during its original US theatrical release and you can find my comments on my personal website as well as here.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 8 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed