I’m not quite sure what drew me to Paradise Now. (I think I put it in my Netflix queue after watching the trailer.) But honestly, now that I’ve seen it, the trailer really doesn’t do this movie justice.
If you ever watched CNN and wondered about what might be going through the mind of a of a young person who straps a bomb to their bodies in an attempt to martyr themselves, this is a must see. Without spoiling the movie, I’ll say that Paradise Now isn’t trying to completely change your mind about terrorism. We do get an in-depth look at the overall process of preparing one for a “suicide bombing” mission. (I’m sure that this is probably a “Hollywood” approach and the real process is probably a bit different.) However, more than the issue of suicide bombing and who’s right and who’s wrong in the conflict, Paradise Now gives you a personal look at two childhood friends from Palestine and how they are affected by the conflict in the Middle East.
Paradise Now stars Kais Nashef in his debut role as “Said” (Say-eed) and Ali Suliman as his longtime friend Khaled. The movie is subtitled in Arabic. (It only runs for 90 minutes, so hang in there with the subtitles.) I’m certain that there are some who will be upset and say that the movie “sympathizes” with those who live in Palestine. Honestly, I’m not sure how one can see this movie and not see beyond the political implications. There’s an incredibly rich story here that appeals to the human issues of family and love that unite us all. I highly recommend that you check out this movie — it is definitely time well spent. There are some very tense and suspenseful moments, but you’ll also find very tender ones as well. There is a beautiful romantic subplot that unfolds throughout the movie.
Paradise Now was released in 2005 and won numerous awards including the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. It was also nominated for an Oscar earlier this year in the same category. This is a timely film that will give you a view beyond the nameless faces that we see on CNN and (for a moment) unites us as people who experience the same human feelings — feelings of bravery…. fear…. uncertainty …..panic ….. loyalty …..anxiety ….and love.
(Drop me a line if you check this out — want to know what you think. I’d love to talk about this one a bit more.)