Paradise Now (2005)




Director:  Hany Abu-Assad

Starring:  Lubna Azabal (Suha), Kais Nashef (Said), Lotuf Neusser (Car Owner), Ali Suliman (Khaled), Mohammad Bustami (Abu-Salim), Ahmad Fares (Tea Boy), Mohammad Kosa (Photographer), Amer Hlehel (Jamal), Hiam Abbass (Said's Mother).

two Palestinian buddies consider blowing themselves up in Tel Aviv


A pretty good movie.  Khaled and Said work at an auto repair place in Nablus.  Khaled gets himself fired for getting angry at a customer and using a sledge hammer to knock the bumper off the man's car.

Suha is French, raised in Morroco and now back in the West Bank.  She is the daughter of Abu Azzam, a famous martyr of the Palestinians.  Suha likes Said, who is disappointed with his life in the West Bank.  He feels that living as the Palestinians do is like living in prison for life.  He might also feel a bit of guilt, since his father was a collaborator with the Israelis (and executed for this betrayal) when Said was just 10 years old.  

Jamal, a local leader, comes to Khaled to tell him that a response for the assassination of Abu Hazem and Um Jaber's son has been decided. He adds that the two friends have been selected to do the job, which will be the first major operation in two years. 

The preparation for their suicide bombing is shown, including their martyr videos. 

Khaled seems gung-ho about the operation, but Said is having doubts.

Will the two young men actually carry out the operation when one of the chums seems much in doubt?

 We don't really learn much about the motivation of the two men to carry out a suicide bombing.  Out of the blue and all of a sudden, they get a notice to carry out a mission.  I had no clue that they were even politically aware.  Perhaps if the movie had shown the early horrors Said had to face, we might understand his motivation to consider carrying out a suicide bombing.  

A lot of critics have really panned this movie as sponsoring terrorism and apologizing for it.  But terrorism is a bit like the rioting of blacks in the US in the 1960s when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.  All the racists demanded that everyone condemn the rioters and do so vigorously.  The defense of not giving such a response was that one has to consider the roots causes of those riots (something which racists refuse to do).  And, in a way, it doesn't really matter much what a critic of a movie says or does not say, at least to the black minority population.  It's like the golden rule.  When you treat people with prejudice, hate and discrimination, you are going to get very negative results.  (Too bad more people don't do undo others, as they would like others to do unto them.)  

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 


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