10th edition CIFF – 10-14 April 2024

Tel Aviv on Fire (2019 Feature Film)

Tel Aviv of Fire | Israel, France, Luxembourg, Belgium | 2018 | color | DCP | 97′ | Arabic, Hebrew | e.s.

At the Israeli border when Salem mentions that he works on a popular TV series, the checkpoint official demands a more pro-Jewish twist to the romance in the soap. However this turns out to be easier said than done. A surprisingly light and comical way of capturing the Arab-Israeli conflict, which nevertheless tackles a painful truth.

A comedy about the Arab-Israeli conflict? There are few filmmakers willing to take on such a risky project, but in Tel Aviv on Fire Sameh Zoabi proves it is still possible to find something to laugh about. Starting from a made-up romantic series about a female spy who marries an Arab man in 1967, but also has to engage with a member of the Israeli military. As the viewers don’t yet know who the woman will finally choose, the show becomes hugely popular on both sides of the wall.

Salem works as a production assistant on the set and therefore has to pass a very strict border official every day. When this man demands that the Israeli general be given a more positive role, Salem feverishly tries to influence the narrative of the TV series, while it becomes increasingly clear how futile this is. In this way, Zoabi is able to tackle a painful truth, zooming in on this decades-long conflict with the light touch of a compelling soap opera.

Place: The Cinemas 4

Date: 11 April 2019

Time: 22:00

Duration: 1:20

Place: The Cinemas 4

Date: 13 April 2019

Time: 12:45

Duration: 1:20

Year in



Tel Aviv of Fire


Laurent Brunet


Kais Nashef
Lubna Azabal
Yaniv Biton
Nadim Sawalha
Maisa Abd Elhadi
Salim Daw
Yousef Sweid




Catherine Schwartz






André Dziezuk


Patrick Quinet
Miléna Poylo
Amir Harel
Gilles Sacuto
Bernard Michaux

Production Company

Artémis Productions
TS Productions
Lama Films
Samsa Film

Production Design

Christina Schaffer


Indie Sales


Sameh Zoabi
Dan Kleinman

Sound Design

Alain Sironval

Year of Production


Sameh ZOABI is in 1975 geboren in Iksal, een Palestijns dorp in de buurt van Nazareth. De momenteel in de Verenigde Staten woonachtige filmmaker heeft een duale graad in Engelse literatuur en filmstudies. Zijn werk is vertoond in Cannes, Berlijn, Sundance en Locarno. Be Quiet (2015) werd bekroond in Cannes’ Cinéfondation. Hij schreef ook het originele script voor Hany Abu-Assads The Idol (2015). Tel Aviv on Fire (2018) werd vertoond in Venetië en Toronto. Het is Zoabi’s derde speelfilm als regisseur.



Be Quiet (2005, short), Ish lelo selolari/Man Without a Cell Phone (2010), Mawsem hisad/Family Albums (2012, doc), Under the Same Sun (2013), Tel Aviv on Fire (2018)