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Paradise Now (2005)

Cast: Kais Nashef, Kais Nashef, Ali Suliman, more...
Director: Hany Abu-Assad, Hany Abu-Assad
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Rating:
Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Middle East, Political Thriller
Running Time: 91 min.
Languages: Arabic
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Synopsis
Said (Kais Nashef) is a young Palestinian living in Nablus, and working as a mechanic. He gets his friend Khaled (Ali Suliman) a job, but the hot-tempered and impulsive Khaled quickly loses it. Suha (Lubna Azabal), a pretty, well-traveled young woman and the daughter of a well-known "martyr," brings her car in to be fixed, and flirts with Said. He's clearly interested in her, so much so that he continues to think of her when he's approached later that day by Jamal (Amer Hlehel), who tells him that he's been selected for an important mission, a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, and that Khaled will be joining him, as they had requested. That night, Jamal stays with Said at his mother's (Hiam Abbass) house, while another man stays with Khaled. Said sneaks off during the night to bring Suha her car keys, and has a brief discussion with her about her father's death, and what options the Palestinians have in their dealings with Israel. Said doesn't tell her the real reason for his visit: he's saying goodbye. The next morning, as scheduled, Said and Khaled are given neat haircuts and suits. They each make a video explaining to their families why they've chosen this path. Explosives are strapped on, and they are warned that trying to remove the belts themselves will result in detonation. When they're brought to a hole in the fence surrounding Nablus, they are intercepted by Israeli troops. Khaled and Said flee, and get separated. Said is left on his own. Paradise Now was co-written and directed by Hany Abu-Assad (Rana's Wedding, Ford Transit). A hit on the festival circuit, it was selected for inclusion in the 2005 New York Film Festival by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. ~ Josh Ralske, All Movie Guide



Related Interview
Read GreenCine's exclusive interview with Director Hany Abu-Assad.

Winner of last year's Blue Angel Award for Best European Film and the Amnesty International Award for Best Film, Paradise Now was also nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category. John Esther talks with director Hany Abu-Assad. Full Article >>


GreenCine Member Reviews

Riveting view from a Palestinian perspective by SBarnett September 21, 2006 - 6:39 AM PDT
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4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
I watched this film three times and have been thinking about it for days. It completely gets under your skin. Like "Battle of Algiers," it's a film of faces: young men without hope, without a future, virtually imprisoned in the land of their birth and bearing the weight of two generations of armed resistance; a mother who lost her husband and fears losing her son; a young woman grappling with her father's reputation and her own future, as well as the future of her people; a boy delivering tea and looking for a hero; resistance leaders with complex motivations; ordinary Palestinians and Israelis living in the center of a maelstrom. The film has no overt violence, yet it is almost unbearably saturated with physical and psychological crisis. But it is deeply subtle at the same time, filled with the small touches of everyday life, from a conversation about how much sugar people put in their tea to the hidden meaning of a woman covering her head when a man who is not her relative comes into the room. It's a film of marvels: one astounding scene briefly recreates da Vinci's "Last Supper"; another shows a would-be martyr flinching as others eat food his mother prepared for him; another shows the reaction of a group of Palestinians walking along a road when a huge explosion goes off in the distance. The film strives to be objective, not arguing for or against any particular theory or course of action, instead presenting the arguments in a vivid, straightforward way. It definitely takes the "suicide" out of "suicide bombing" by showing that the people who carry them out do so for many reasons, suicide being least among them. And it also confronts the question that cannot be answered: will two angels really come and pick you up after you pull the detonator cord? You will come away from this film looking at the news from the West Bank with completely new eyes. (Read GreenCine's excellent interview with the director.)




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