Paradise Now (15)




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Time Out says

Tue Apr 11 2006

While the high-decibel provocations of ‘V for Vendetta’ offer cartoon catharsis for enraged citizens of the world according to Bush, this multinational co-production offers a drier, more pensive exploration of the causes of terrorism.

Twentysomething friends and co-workers in Nablus, Said (Kais Nashef) and Khaled (Ali Suliman) are also members of an unnamed terrorist organisation that has just appointed them to a suicide operation in Tel Aviv – a seemingly straightforward mission that will make several unexpected reversals by the end of ‘Paradise Now’, which was shot on location in the West Bank under semi-siege conditions (a Palestinian faction briefly kidnapped one of the crew members).

Nazareth-born director Hany Abu-Assad previously depicted the tedium, anger and sour hilarity of life under occupation in the fictional ‘Rana’s Wedding’ and the documentary ‘Ford Transit’, a road(block) movie about a West Bank taxi driver and his rotating cast of voluble passengers, who muse on suicide-bomber psychology and the culture of victimhood. Such issues are front and centre in ‘Paradise Now’, which folds in elements of treatise, melodrama, blackest comedy, and a hint of romance – the latter facilitated by the lovely Suha (Lubna Azabal), who’s also the movie’s pacifist voice of reason.

The psychoanalysis of the schematic script is too pat, casting Said, son of a collaborator, in a semi-Oedipal drama wherein he slays the ghost of his treasonous father. Neither he not Khaled appear convincingly resolved to die for a cause or assured of any heavenly reward for their sacrifice. Still, ‘Paradise Now’ is commendable for seeking out nuance in a horrifying subject, putting terrorist acts in sorrowful context while never making excuses for them.


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Release details



UK release:

Fri Apr 14, 2006


90 mins

Cast and crew


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


Hany Abu-Assad, Bero Beyer


Hany Abu-Assad


Olivier Meidinger

Production Designer:

Antoine Heberlé


Sander Vos

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An amazingly beautiful and strong movie, that succeeds in presenting a complex conflict without taking sides.


An amazingly beautiful and strong movie, that succeeds in presenting a complex conflict without taking sides.