Running time: 90 mins
Screenplay: Hany Abu-Assad, Bero Beyer
Photography: Antoine Heberlé
Editor: Sander Vos
In Arabic with English subtitles
M adult themes
With: Kais Nashef, Ali Suliman, Lubna Azabal, Amer Hlehel, Hiam Abbass, Ashraf BarhoumFestivals: Berlin, Sydney 2005
The two young Palestinian suicide-bombers at the centre of this provocatively adrenalised film are hardly the fundamentalist zealots of legend. Khaled and Saïd have grown up together in Nablus and work for a pittance at a garage. They seem less threatening than testy, two guys at a loose end in a depressingly stunted environment. Both have signed up to serve the cause, despite the passionate objections of their friend Suha, daughter of a celebrated martyr. When they’re given a night’s notice that they’re being sent to Tel Aviv in a retaliatory strike at Israeli military, they are ordered to act naturally, to conceal from their families and friends that they are about to die. The air of unreality about what’s been set in motion becomes more and more unnerving as they’re briefed, fitted out as human bombs and film their stilted martyrs’ statements. Once they are loose in the field director Hany Abu-Assad wracks up the suspense, compounding their moral panic – can they both actually go through with this? – with our own terror of impending detonation.