Paradise Now (image 1)

Screened as part of NZIFF 2005

Paradise Now 2004

Al-Jenna

Directed by Hany Abu-Assad

The two young Palestinian suicide bombers at the centre of this provocatively adrenalised film are hardly the fundamentalist zealots of legend. Paradise Now wracks up the suspense, compounding their moral panic with our own terror of impending detonation.

France / Germany / Palestine / The Netherlands In Arabic with English subtitles
90 minutes CinemaScope

Director

Screenplay

Hany Abu-Assad
,
Bero Beyer

Photography

Antoine Heberlé

Editor

Sander Vos

With

Kais Nashef
,
Ali Suliman
,
Lubna Azabal
,
Amer Hlehel
,
Hiam Abbass
,
Ashraf Barhoum

Festivals

Berlin, Sydney 2005

Elsewhere

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. — BG