This movie is an international production with funds from France, Germany, Nederlands and Israel (not by official funds though but thanks to Amir Harel, producer of Walk On Water, who has fund the last required funds to finish the movie).
The crew has shooted the movie on the real site of Naplouze in Palestinia, a place where gunfights are sadely part of the daily life. Where people are used to see TV crews, Paradise Now has moved more than 70 people and 30 trucks for being directed.
The crew has even had once to go back to Nazareth are it was getting too dangerous in Naplouze.
If it has not won the Golden Bear there, Paradise Now has received several awards at the Berlin International Film Festival:
- Amnesty International Film Prize,
- Blue Angel,
- Reader Jury of the "Berliner Morgenpost"
Quite a good start for a movie about such a delicate subject as the palestinian suicide bombers.
The palestinian director, Hany Abu-Assad, had already make himself known to the international public with his former movie, Rana's Wedding, about a Palestinian girl of seventeen who wants to get married to the man of her own choosing. I've not seen that one yet ...
This time he wanted to show the audience what it never sees. If we (by "we" I mean "western people", as most of us here including me) all learn about the suicide bomb attempts in Israel by our media, it's always in an anonymous way. The fact is that most of the time these suicide bombers are total anonymous people, not at all fool fanatics but quite ordinary people which complicates a lot the work of the Israeli forces to prevent these attempts.
Where we always see the images of despair and sadeness after the attempts, Hany Abu-Assad wanted to show the audience the despair and sadeness which conducts these people to suicide themselves in these attempts.
So we follow in this movie two chidhood friends, SaÃ¯d (Kais Nashef) and Khaled (Ali Suliman) involved for years in a breakaway group.
At the very begining of the movie they learn they have both been choosen for a suicide bombing mission in Tel Aviv the next day.
We follow them in their very last hours with their respective families while they have to act as usual to not let anyone suspects anything.
Then they are equipped with plastic explosives around their waists under suits and get to cross the Isreali border but things don't go as planned.
As their martyr fate is getting more and more tangible, Said and Kamel both grapple with the ethical, moral and religious implications of what they are doing and change their minds more than once.
The excellent play of Kais Nashef and Ali Suliman, who just start their carreer with this movie, must be applauded loudly as they manage to catch us and make us see all along the movie their doubts, their fears, all their emotions which make them wonder about the real value of their sacrifice. These guys are incredible actors !
The directing is also perfect, giving you as most as possible informations but keeping you caught by the story and avoiding to become a boring documentary.
The emotions goes thru the actors indeed, through their audible dialogs and guessed monologs. It also goes through the image itself, through for example, the visible contrast between the third world conditions in the Palestian area where even water needs filtering and the glitzy tall buildings, covered by cellulars' adds, in Tel Aviv where beautiful girls in bikinis walk along the beachfront promenade.
Hany Abu-Assad condamns these attempts but give the audience more keys to understand better the situation in these place of the World. The movie never takes position but exposes facts and that is precisely which gives it its strengh of impact on the audience's mind.
To quote Said, we're in a situation where both countries "play victim and executioner". Once the tension appears, it won't leave you till the very end of the movie.
If you are just a little bit interrested by you World ... you just have to see it.
I give it a 6/6 and hope that many of you will have the opportunity to see it.