One of the many astonishing traits of Palestinian cinema is the way in which it has embraced the complex relationship between gender and nation as a central concern in its filmmaking. This article explores the ways in which gendered and national identity are negotiated and refigured in two seminal contributions to Palestinian cinema, Michel Khleifi's Wedding in Galilee and Elia Suleiman's Divine Intervention. Paying close attention to the contested structures of nation, postcoloniality, gender, and identification within the films, the article examines the extent to which Khleifi and Suleiman manage to reconcile postcolonial and feminist commitments in visual terms. In particular, the article examines the directors' visual construction of space, division, and connection, which it argues can be interpreted as a codification of the paradigms of gender, desire, and fantasy present within the films.
Placing these analyses within a critical framework drawn from postcolonial, feminist, and spatial theory, the article explores the possibility that the concerns of contemporary Palestinian cinema, while varied, might offer an exciting forum through which postcolonial gender theorists are able to explore and realign the long-contested relationships between nationalism and feminism and between individual and communal agency. Despite this possibility, the article finally posits that while Khleifi's and Suleiman's films both construct transgressive models of femininity, the possibility of aligning their work with the vision of a postcolonial feminist project remains, to an extent, contested.