Life is Beautiful

by Mohamed Jabaly
Young Palestinian filmmaker, Mohamed Jabaly is stuck in Norway when Gaza’s borders are closed. His struggle to obtain an artist’s visa sparks the close-knit community into action.
2023  ·  1h33m  ·  Norway, Palestine, Qatar
Arabic, English, Norwegian
English subs
About the Film

In 2014, when the young Palestinian filmmaker Mohammed Jabali was on exchange in Norway, Israel closed the borders of his native Gaza indefinitely. The Norwegian government would not accept his Palestinian passport and rejected his application for a work permit. As a result of all this, Jabali unwittingly finds himself trapped with his host family in the Arctic town of Tromsø.
As he waits for the court’s decision and follows the joyless paths of political and bureaucratic logic, Jabali photographs himself and his friends and colleagues amid the snowy calm of the spectacular Norwegian landscape. These scenes contrast sharply with the harrowing images and messages he receives from family and friends in Gaza. Meanwhile, Tromsø’s close-knit artistic and film community is doing its best to support Jabali.

LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL is an intimate story of overcoming the challenges imposed by international politics and rigid bureaucracy, told by a filmmaker who uses all his creativity to connect with the world and find a way forward.

Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

KriStine Skaret, Sarah Winge-Sørensen
Mohamed Jabaly
Anne Fabini, Erland Edenholm
Sound Design
Anna Nilsson
About the Director

Mohamed Jabaly

Mohamed Jabaly is a Palestinian filmmaker, producer, and artist from Gaza City. He came to Norway in 2014 and has since made a name for himself in the international film industry. His first full-length documentary, “Ambulance,” has been shown at several of the world’s largest film festivals and has won several awards. These include the One World Media Award for Best Feature Documentary at BAFTA in 2017, the BBC Arabic Young Journalist Award, the SunBird Award at Days of Cinema in Palestine, the FIPA D’or Award, and the Jury Award for Best Documentary at FIPA in Biarritz, France in 2017.
In addition to his work in filmmaking, Mohamed has conducted filmmaking workshops for young people and served on juries for several film festivals. Currently, he is pursuing his MA in Fine Art at the Oslo National Academy of Art. He holds a BA in Moving Images from Nordland Film & Art College in Northern Norway. In 2019, he joined Stray Dogs production as a director, and his feature documentary “Al Haya Helwa / Life is Beautiful” is scheduled for release in autumn 2023.

Other films by Mohamed Jabaly