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Palestinians Said and Khaled, now in young adulthood, have been lifelong friends living in Nablus in the West Bank. They have both had what they consider a difficult life, now working side-by-side in unfulfilling jobs as auto mechanics in a small garage, being unfulfilling as difficult as the jobs were to get. Those difficult lives includes feeling like they are prisoners in the West Bank, Said who has only left the region once on a medical issue when he was six. They blame all their problems on the oppression by the Israelis. As such, they have volunteered and have been accepted by a Palestinian resistance group to carry out a suicide bombing mission in Tel Aviv: after the initial response to the first bomb, the second bomb would be detonated at the same site. Following the bombing, the resistance group would release pre-taped video messages of Said and Khaled confessing to the bombing in the name of God. The mission would require Said and Khaled to cross "illegally" into Israel. ...Written by
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"Paradise Now" is a rare film in which one sees another angle to the Middle East conflict first hand. In fact, the movie is non violent while making its point, something, that in another director's hands, would have taken a different path.
Director Hani Abu Assad takes us behind the scenes as two young men are being asked to perform the most daring act in order to make a statement to the enemy, give up their own lives! Mr. Assad takes us along as this pair prepares for what could be their last day on earth. In fact, one of the things that have always puzzled us is the idea that the young people giving their own lives, go to their deaths so quietly, and without any questions posed to the leaders that are asking for their sacrifice.
We watch as the two good friends, Said and Khaled spend the last night with their families, not even giving a hint of what they are about to do. Later, in a scene that reminded us of "The Last Supper", Said and Khaled sit with the leader of their group to partake their last meal. Then, we watch as they both are transformed to resemble their own enemy.
The two young leads, Kais Nashef and Ali Suliman are perfect in their roles. Lubna Azabal, is seen as a young Moroccan woman who has met the pair at the garage where they worked and seems to act as their conscience because she makes them reflect on the deed they are going to perform.
"Paradise Now" points to a lot of the causes for the problems in the region where the contrast between the two sides is like day and night. Nablas, the town where Said and Khaled live could well be in another planet, while Tel Aviv, with its skyscrapers, modernity and order, is perhaps, the paradise they are searching for.
The film is worth a look since it is a different account about the tragedy in that part of the world.
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