Dir Hany Abu-Assad, 2005 France/Germany/Netherlands/Israel (90 min)
Kais Nashef, Ali Suliman, Lubna Azabal
A young man holding gun aloft falteringly starts to read his speech. The camera breaks down. His handlers chomp bread nonchalantly. He tries again with great effort. This will be his martyr video, his suicide note. Suddenly his head clears and his voice perks up – he looks into the lens and tells his mother of a water filter she would like that is selling cheaply in town.
Paradise Now succeeds in creating moments of irony and emotional resonance that give the urgent drama a memorable depth. As Palestinian friends Said and Khaled embark on a suicide mission, the film humanises its protagonists, illustrating their frustrations and the lack of options they believe are available to them. Saha, a strong-willed woman that Said is in love with, represents a forcefully persuasive moral counter balance. And the audience is left with a powerful conclusion that haunts long after you’ve left the cinema. Kate Taylor