Soup Over Bethlehem
Soup Over Bethlehem (2006) depicts an ordinary Palestinian family, Sansour’s own, around a dinner table on a rooftop overlooking the West Bank city of Bethlehem. What starts as a culinary discussion about the national dish mloukhieh being served from a soup bowl soon evolves into a personal and engaging conversation about politics – thereby emphasizing the symbiosis of food and politics so indicative of the Palestinian experience.
Rather than offering a portrait of a national identity as an invitation to renegotiate stereotypes, Soup Over Bethlehem presents a stereotype already renegotiated. The Arabic spoken around the dinner table is interrupted by English, and family members hold a variety of international passports, jobs and academic degrees. The diasporic traits present in every Palestinian family history lends a globalized quality even to life under the restraints of occupation. In turn, the mloukhieh in the soup bowl represents the shared national heritage – a single constant amid nothing but fluctuation. And the meal itself becomes a gastronomic anchoring of a Palestinian identity in eternal flux.