Succheads will remember Palestinian actress Hiam Abbas best as the unknowable Marcia Roy, third and final wife of Succession’s media mogul Logan Roy. For comedy fans, she is Maysa Hassan, deadpan, straight-talking mother of Ramy (and host of Hulu’s official Ramy after-show, One Cup of Tea). But it’s her daughter Lina Soualem’s documentary Bye Bye Tiberias that really gets under the skin of the actress, who left home (Deir Hanna, a largely Arab-Muslim town that came under Israeli rule in 1948) in her early twenties to pursue a career in France. Nominated for Best Documentary at the 2024 Film Independent Spirit Awards, and enjoying a 3.9 average rating on , the film charts a journey into what it means to be a person forever tied to a place, even when that place is no longer a part of them.
Soualem’s father, actor Zinedine Soualem, captured many of the family’s trips to Deir Hanna on home video. As the director tells Girls on Tops, “These little moments meant a lot, in a context in which we don’t have much footage of our history—because our memory has been erased, our images have been lost or destroyed due to the political context and the displacement. Each new image becomes proof of [our] denied existence.” She mixes this footage with more recent trips with her mother, during which Abbas acts out memories with her sisters and an old theater colleague. It can’t have been easy for Abbas to excavate her heart like this, but there are moments of lightness and joy. “Bye Bye Tiberias is gentle and vulnerable, an ode to family and the intergenerational bonds of women,” Marinthia writes. And it’s a film for our times, as Jeremy observes: “It really reminded me of my own family’s videos, we a Jewish family that came to America fleeing pogroms, they as a Palestinian family routed from their home and living with military jets flying overhead. The irony is not lost.” GG