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Soup Over Bethlehem (Mloukhieh)

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Directed by | Larissa Sansour

Genre fiction  |  Length: 10mins  |  Year of production: 2006

Larissa Sansour�s video art short depicts an ordinary Palestinian family, the artist�s own, around a dinner table on a rooftop overlooking Bethlehem. What starts as a culinary discussion about the national dish being served (mloukhieh) evolves into a conversation on politics, emphasizing a symbiosis of food and politics Sansour suggests as indicative of the Palestinian experience. But rather than positing a caricatured national type, Soup Over Bethlehem shows national identity stereotypes thoroughly disrupted the Arabic spoken at the table is interrupted by English, while family members hold an international variety of passports, jobs, and degrees. These diasporic traits, present in all Palestinian family histories, lend a globalized quality to life and identity, even under the confines of occupation. Under such conditions, perhaps it is the mloukhieh in the serving bowl that most stably conveys a sense of national heritage a single constant amidst a sea of fluctuation. And so, the meal itself comes to figure as a gastronomic anchoring of a Palestinian identity in eternal flux.