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Paradise Now (2005)

Two childhood friends are recruited for a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Hamza Abu-Aiaash ...
Checkpoint Soldier
...
...
Car Owner (as Lotuf Neusser)
...
Mohammad Bustami ...
Abu-Salim
Ahmad Fares ...
Tea Boy
Waleed On-Allah ...
Asaad Dwikat ...
Shawarma Shop Owner
Imad Saber ...
Shawarma Customer
Mohammad Kosa ...
Photographer
Amer Hlehel ...
...
Nour Abd El-Hadi ...
Said's Sister
Amjad Al-Imlah ...
Said's Brother
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Storyline

In Nablas on the West Bank, Said and Khaled, who have volunteered to be suicide bombers, receive word it will be tomorrow - the cell's first operation in two years. They're shaven and shorn, in black suits to pose as settlers in Tel Aviv for a wedding. Something goes wrong at the crossing, they're separated, and the action is postponed, long enough for renewed questioning of what they're about to do. Suha, the well-educated and well-traveled daughter of a martyr, challenges the action. She likes Said and has her own ideas. "Under the occupation, we're already dead," is Khaled's analysis. Fate and God's will seem to drive Said. We must be moral, argues Suha. Can minds change? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In the next 36 hours, two childhood friends may do the unthinkable. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Language:

|

Release Date:

18 November 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El paraíso ahora  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$48,023, 30 October 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,452,402, 19 March 2006
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first Palestinian film to be nominated for an Academy Award. See more »

Goofs

When Khalid speeds away in the green car the camera man is reflected in the car's windows. See more »

Quotes

Suha: And what about us? The ones who remain? Will we win that way? Don't you see that what you're doing is destroying us? And that you give Israel an excuse to carry on?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Provides an interesting, albeit frightening, point of view
21 April 2006 | by See all my reviews

After watching "Paradise Now" and reading the reviews on this site, I had to ask myself whether those who hated this film saw the same movie I did. It is entirely possible to watch this film and not side with the two protagonists. Why? Oh, I don't know, it's called having a rational, open mind.

I never got the impression that the filmmakers were celebrating suicide bombers or condoning the actions of their two protagonists. What director Hany Abu-Assad attempts to do - and does it rather successfully - is show us the thought process that happens when people decide to do the unspeakable. We might not agree with the decision - at least, I certainly hope we don't - and we should be repulsed by what's happening. But the unmistakable truth is that these people exist and, whether we like to admit it or not, they firmly believe in what they're doing.

Being objective, or trying to be, and humanizing people like Said and Khaled in the film isn't necessarily bad. I realize it's awfully easy for our leaders to simply brand them as monsters and "evildoers" and see the world in purely as good and evil, a world without complexities, subtleties and contradictions. It makes them feel good to spoon feed us trite sound bites and most of us seem to be quite willing to accept their mindless platitudes, phrases and talking points without debate or even an iota of skepticism.

But when you humanize these characters, it makes them more terrifying. We realize they're not rabid monsters we can't know and understand. It makes what they do all that more alarming. When Bruno Ganz humanized Hitler in "Downfall" (2004), he didn't make Hitler any less evil; he just made us realize that a human being could be that horrible and, therefore, his actions were all the more despicable and frightening.

The American public - as much as it might not want to admit it - needs to be educated and learn about what makes people like Said, Khaled and their comrades tick. It's too myopic (and ultimately unproductive) for us to simply toss them aside as evil. Our ignorance of foreign cultures and religions, especially Arab and Islam, is staggering. The media must share some of the blame. TV networks are more concerned about young, white women missing than foreign affairs. World news in this country essentially is limited to the goings-on Iraq. That, too, barely penetrates the surface. Not when you have to cut to breaking news of a new "development" in Aruba or the latest on Brad and Angelina. Afghanistan barely gets mentioned anymore, even though the Taliban seems to be gaining strength in several parts again. (Then again, even the Bush administration seems to have forgotten about that place.) And then networks have the audacity to put on talking-heads to pontificate on shows headlined, "Why they hate us."

"Paradise Now" never asks us to support what the characters are doing. In fact, it provides a counterbalance to the characters by giving us a Palestinian woman who sees the futility in this enterprise. The film also never glorifies what these people are doing. It show us, and there's no implied endorsement of their actions. The acting is uniformly good and, above all, convincing. We may not agree with the subject matter and we should find the characters' actions loathsome. But that doesn't mean we simply brand the film as irresponsible.

This is the world we live in, whether we like it or not. And we owe it to ourselves to learn and comprehend how the other side thinks. What they believe and why they do. Doesn't mean we have to like it. But we sure need to understand it.


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