Hiam Abbass

Hiam Abbass (Arabic: هيام عباس, Hebrew: היאם עבאס; born 30 November 1960), also Hiyam Abbas, is an Israeli Arab actress and film director.[2][1]

Hiam Abbass
Hiam Abbass at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival
Born (1960-11-30) 30 November 1960
Nazareth, Israel[1]
OccupationActress, Director

Personal life

Hiam Abbass was born in Nazareth, Israel, to a Muslim Arab family. She was raised in the village of Deir Hanna.

During the filming of the Steven Spielberg film Munich (2005), Abbass lived in a hotel with the Palestinian Arab and Israeli actors for three months. During that time, they had many discussions that "helped both sides grow closer." In an interview in 2006, Abbass said, "I still remember how difficult it was for the Arab actors to manhandle the Israeli actors in the first scene where the Israeli national team is taken hostage."[1]

Film career

Abbass is known for her roles in Red Satin (2002), Haifa (1996), Paradise Now (2005), The Syrian Bride (2004), Free Zone (2005), Dawn of the World (2008), The Visitor (2008), Lemon Tree (2008), Every Day is a Holiday (2009) and Amreeka (2009). In Spielberg's film, depicting the response to the Munich Massacre, she also served as a dialect and acting consultant.[1]

She directed two short films, Le Pain (2001), and La Danse éternelle (2004). She portrays humanitarian Hind al-Husseini in Julian Schnabel's film Miral (2010), based on the life of Husseini and her orphanage.

In 2002, she appeared in Satin Rouge by Raja Amari, a film about the self-discovery of a middle aged Tunisian widow. She also a similar role in The Syrian Bride, about a Druze woman eager to break down barriers.

Abbass appeared in the French films Le sac de farine and Le temps de la balle.

In 2008, she played the mother of an illegal Syrian immigrant in Tom McCarthy's movie The Visitor, and the mother of an Iraqi soldier in Abbas Fahdel's film Dawn of the World.

Also in 2008, she played the principal role in Israeli director Eran Riklis's film Lemon Tree (Etz Limon in Hebrew). For this role, she won Best Performance by an Actress at the 2008 Asia Pacific Screen Awards. In Jim Jarmusch's 2009 film The Limits of Control, in the role of Driver, she recites in Classical Arabic one of the film's leitmotif-phrases, "He who thinks he is bigger than the rest must go to the cemetery. There he will see what life really is."

Abbass also appears in A Bottle in the Gaza Sea (2011), a French-Québéecois-Israeli film produced by Thierry Binisti. It is based upon the young adult novel Une bouteille dans la mer de Gaza by Valérie Zenatti. She plays the role of Naïm's mother.

In 2012, she was named as a member of the Jury for the Main Competition at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.[3] She made her directorial feature film debut with The Inheritance in 2012.

In 2017 she played Freysa, the head of the replicant freedom movement, in Blade Runner 2049.

Abbass has also acted in three TV shows: The Promise (2011), The State (2017), and Succession (2018).



Year Title Role Director Notes
1989 La nuit miraculeuse Ariane Mnouchkine TV movie
1993 Antoine Rives, juge du terrorisme Jacqueline Tabet Philippe Lefebvre TV series (Episode: "L'affaire JBN")
1994 3000 scénarios contre un virus A client Cédric Klapisch TV series (Episode: "Poisson rouge")
1996 When the Cat's Away Woman in the courtyard Cédric Klapisch (2)
Haifa Oum Said Rashid Masharawi
1998 Raddem Danielle Arbid Short
Vivre au paradis Bourlem Guerdjou
Venise est une femme Aïcha's Mother Jean-Pierre Vergne TV movie
Histoire naturelle Karim Boulila Short
2000 Mix-cité Christophe Leprêtre TV movie
Ali, Rabiaa et les autres Rabiaa Ahmed Boulane
2001 Ligne 208 Khaled's Mother Bernard Dumont
Le pain Hiam Abbass Short
Le mariage en papier Aunt Rabiaa Stéphanie Duvivier Short
Tar Angel (L'ange de goudron) Naïma Kasmi Denis Chouinard
2002 Fais-moi des vacances Lucien & José's Mother Didier Bivel
Satin Rouge Lilia Raja Amari
A Loving Father Salma Jacob Berger
2003 Pierre et Farid Farid's Mother Michel Favart TV movie
Noctambules Lonely Woman Pascal Tessaud Short
2004 The Gate of Sun Um Youness Yousry Nasrallah
The Syrian Bride Amal Eran Riklis Nominated – Ophir Award for Best Actress
Nominated – European Film Award for Best Actress
Nadia et Sarra Nadia Moufida Tlatli
2005 Paradise Now Said's Mother Hany Abu-Assad
Sur les traces de Mélanie Madelaine Laetitia Arlix Short
Free Zone Leila Amos Gitai Nominated – Ophir Award for Best Supporting Actress
Le démon de midi Rim Marie-Pascale Osterrieth
Munich Marie Claude Hamshari Steven Spielberg Also consultant and dialog coach
2006 Petites révélations Marie Vermillard
Azur & Asmar: The Princes' Quest Jénane's Voice Michel Ocelot
The Nativity Story Anna Catherine Hardwicke
2007 Conversations with My Gardener The gardener's wife Jean Becker
Disengagement Hiam Amos Gitai (2)
The Visitor Mouna Tom McCarthy Federazione Italiana Cinema d'Essai – Acting
Nominated – International Cinephile Society Awards – Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cast
Nominated – Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Cast
2008 Béthune sur Nil Farah Jérôme Foulon TV movie
La fabrique des sentiments Professor Sterne Jean-Marc Moutout
Lemon Tree Salma Zidane Eran Riklis (2) Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Performance by an Actress
Ophir Award for Best Actress
Osian's Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema – Best Actress
Federazione Italiana Cinema d'Essai – Acting
Nominated – European Film Award for Best Actress
Un roman policier Fati Stéphanie Duvivier (2)
Dawn of the World Mastour's mother Abbas Fahdel
Fatoush The woman Hisham Abdel Khalek Short
Kandisha Mona Bendrissi Jerome Cohen-Olivar
Al-mor wa al rumman Umm Habib Najwa Najjar
Blanche The neighbour Eric Griffon du Bellay Short
2009 Amreeka Raghda Halaby Cherien Dabis
Espion(s) Wafa Nicolas Saada
Human Zoo Mina Rie Rasmussen
The Limits of Control The Driver Jim Jarmusch
Persécution Marie Patrice Chéreau
Chaque jour est une fête Hala Dima El-Horr
2010 Suite parlée The Ants Joël Brisse
Marie Vermillard (2)
Clichés Nadine Naous Short
Histoires de vies Zineb Julien Sicard TV series (Episode: "Des intégrations ordinaires")
Miral Hind al-Husseini Julian Schnabel
Le temps de la balle Hana Hervé Jakubowicz Short
I Am Slave Gabriel Range TV movie
Habibti Iman Nour Wazzi Short
2011 The Promise Old Jawda Peter Kosminsky TV miniseries (4 episodes)
The Source Fatima Radu Mihăileanu
Do Not Forget Me Istanbul Hany Abu-Assad (2)
Stefan Arsenijević
Aida Begić
Eric Nazarian
A Bottle in the Gaza Sea Intessar Thierry Binisti
2012 Le sac de farine Yasmine Kadija Leclere
Inheritance Samira Hiam Abbass (2)
2013 Les jeux des nuages et de la pluie Blanche Benjamin de Lajarte
May in the Summer Nadine Cherien Dabis (2)
Rock the Casbah Aicha Laïla Marrakchi
Samarkande The Death Christophe Arnould Short
Peace After Marriage Amani Bandar & Ghazi Albuliwi
2014 De guerre lasse Raïssa Olivier Panchot
Nothing Escapes My Eyes Women David Krippendorff Short
The Red Tent Queen Re-Nefer Roger Young
Exodus: Gods and Kings Bithiah Ridley Scott
2015 Dégradé Eftikhar Arab Nasser and Tarzan Nasser
The Sense of Wonder Dr. Mélanie Ferenza Éric Besnard
2016 The OA Khatun Zal Batmanglij TV series (Episodes: "Homecoming" and "Away")
2017 Blade Runner 2049 Freysa Denis Villeneuve
Insyriated Oum Yazan Philippe Van Leeuw Pending - Lumières Award for Best Actress
2018–present Succession Marcia "Marcy" Roy Various TV series
2019 Ramy Maysa Hassan Various TV series


Year Title Actors Notes
2001 Le pain Jules Sitruk, Zinedine Soualem Short
Nominated – Namur International Festival of French-Speaking Film – Best Short Film
2004 La danse éternelle Gamil Ratib, Françoise Bertin Short
Also writer
2012 Inheritance Hafsia Herzi, Ali Suliman, Ashraf Barhom, Clara Khoury, Makram Khoury, Tom Payne Also writer
Nominated – São Paulo International Film Festival – Best Feature Film
2013 Le Donne della Vucciria Lubna Azabal, Biagio Barone, Patrizia Schiavone Short
Also co-writer - Screened at Venice Days 2013
2015 Jerusalem, I Love You

See also


  1. "Interview with Hiam Abbas: Rapprochement through Debate - Qantara.de".
  2. "Arab-Israeli actress for Cannes jury". Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  3. "The Jury of the 65th Festival de Cannes". festival-cannes.com. Cannes Film Festival. Archived from the original on 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
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