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UKScreen Rating:

Paradise Now – Review

What’s it about?

This is a journey into the lives of two young Palestinians, Said (Kais Nashif) and Khaled (Ali Suliman), whose frustration with their pointless life under Israeli oppression leads them to contemplate and volunteer to blow themselves up in Tel-Aviv.

How is it like?

Many western filmmakers try their hands at understanding the psyche of a suicide bomber, but usually their effort ends up with lame plots and stereotypical characters that are drawn from news bulletins, which usually bear little resemblance to reality.
“Paradise now”, written and directed by a Palestinian, is the nearest you can get to start understanding suicide bombers, their environment, their motives and the way they execute their missions.
The film maker doesn’t take sides on the issue; instead he presents the events as a matter-of-fact, almost like a documentary but imbued with emotional depth and a lot of thrill and dark humour.
The film is beautifully shot, capturing the west bank and the devastating effect of five decades of Israeli occupation on its landscape. The script suffers somewhere in the middle, when it lingers too much on a chase scene, wasting valuable time on developing and exploring the main characters, but it seems that the director was trying to avoid any more controversy than he has already created.
The film has deservedly won many awards around the world and was nominated for the Oscars, but it was also criticised for humanizing suicide bombers. Ironically, Samson, the first suicide bomber in history was, not only humanized, but mythologized in the Bible and yet no one is criticizing God for it.

Released on 14th April 2006

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