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Fatna Haroun

Brooklyn International High School, Junior

REVIEW | Paradise Now (2005) directed by Hany Abu-Assad

The movie involves two days in the lives of Said (Kais Nashef) and Khaled (Ali Suliman), two Palestinians, garage mechanics, and best friends who are recruited to cross into Israel and blow themselves up. They are not shown as fanatics. They prepare for their task as one would prepare for any difficult assignment. The organization that supports them provides training, encouragement, praise, shaves and haircuts, suits and ties, a ceremonial dinner, and a chance to make videos that will be shown on television. On his video, Said articulates the Palestinian position, expressing anger that the Israelis have stolen the status of victims he believes belongs by right to his own people. Does this speech make the film propaganda, or does it function simply as a record of what such a man would say on such an occasion? I'm not sure it matters. If we are interested in a film that takes us into the lives of suicide bombers, we must be prepared to regard what we find there. Certainly what Said says will not come as a surprise to any Israeli. It's simply that they disagree. We may disagree, too, and yet watch the film with a fearsome fascination.

Paradise Now, Ali Saliman (l.), Kais Nashef (r.)