Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Interesting film. Palestinian director, with French, Dutch and Israeli production companies. A look at what could be the motivation/justification of a suicide bomber. It's not as good as Battle of Algiers, but worth seeing. It's not really an apology for suicide bombers, but an exploration of the factors that go into someone making that decision. It both allows the reasoning for such a choice to be heard, but also critiqued by those who disagree with the method.

One point of interest is the connection between Suha and Said. Suha's father was an early martyr and has been held up through the years as a great hero. She says she'd rather have him alive than a hero. She is one of the voices against suicide bombing. We discover that

Said's father was a collaborator who was shot. Part of his motivation is to bring some honor back to the family.

They have both lost fathers through different circumstances, and it affects their outlook.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW, my review.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

Faith & Int. Affairs: "Paradise Now"

What's interesting about the film, and makes its scope broader than the immediate Palestinian-Israeli conflict, is the way it resonates with the American story. Khaled is not only a cowboy, he's Patrick Henry. His speeches, and those of others, are consistently about how intolerable it is to live in subjection. When Jamal says, "Death is better than inferiority," it's not far from "Give me liberty or give me death." Many of these lines of dialogue will ring uncomfortably familiar to Americans who base our beloved national story on the right of the oppressed to fight for liberty. . . .

Jesus taught love of enemies -- perhaps the highest and most difficult of spiritual disciplines, and the most contrary to our pride. He taught that, out of the raw material of humiliation, a conquered people can mine the gold of humility. This was borne out in the centuries of martyrdom, when Christians declined to defend their own lives, or even those of their children, and instead went singing to their deaths, convinced that they were conquerors. . . .

After I wrote the review I saw an interview with the director in which he commented on a scene before the day of the planned bombing, in which the conspirators have dinner. There's a held frame in which the characters are posed like DaVinci's Last Supper. I thought "that makes no sense at all" -- what would it be referring to?

In the interview the director said that it was an intentional reference to Christ, and to the Cross: that Christian's understand that you can win a victory through dying in such a way that you take your enemy with you. I thought that was the strangest misunderstanding of Christian doctrine I'd ever heard.

But as I thought abt it I realized that, as a Middle-Eastern Arab, the Christianity he'd been exposed to would have been the one taht emphasized the "Victory" understanding of salvation -- the view of "atonement" that I was writing about last time. As in the hymn repeated thousands of times in Easter season, "Christ has risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!" From his observation of Christianity, Christ's work on the Cross was all about dying in such a way that he "took the Devil with him". Rather than any concept of it being a transaction with the Father, or a payment for sin. Really interesting.

Frederica Mathewes-Green, January 24

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mathewes-Green almost always has an interesting take on matters like these. Like her, I instantly recognized the (blatant and intentional) Last Supper image, but couldn't make sense of it in the context of the religion.

Here's a double-feature I'd like to see: Paradise Now and Munich.

Good movie. I agree, with Darrel, though: not as good as The Battle of Algiers.

I have a blog? here at A&F that I sometimes post in.

Link to post
Share on other sites

finnegan wrote:

: Here's a double-feature I'd like to see: Paradise Now and Munich.

Certainly an interesting possibility. I think Paradise Now might have more in common with Syriana, though -- or at least one of its key subplots.

: Good movie. I agree, with Darrel, though: not as good as The Battle of Algiers.

Still have to see that one; I had a library copy on hand almost a year ago, but returned it unseen during a bit of unpleasantness that hit the board at that time.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The City Paper did an interesting double feature (which is no longer available for free) comparing Paradise Now with Jarhead. I didn't see either, but it made sense.

That's just how eye roll.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just saw this movie half an hour ago. I thought it was pretty effective and affecting, and offers a lot of fodder for discussion here. I'm a bit surprised to turn up just a short thread. There's a line one of the characters has - "Better dead than inferior" (or something like that), which sort of points up in a nutshell how the worldview held by the main characters is in direct opposition to the gospel, where the last shall be first and life together means putting the needs of others before your own, not seeking out your own justice, etc. I guess martyrdom could be seen as a twisted, extreme version of putting others before self, but it does not come off that way in the film. It's more about hopelessness, and feeling defeated and trapped and weak, and hating that feeling.

I was pretty impressed at the way the journeys taken by each of the two lead characters - together and separately - were handled. It's not a perfect movie, but very good and thoughtful and, though intense, tame enough to watch with your teens (or elderly parents, as the case may be).

Sara Zarr

author, person.

sarazarr.com

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Just watched Abu-Assad's doc Ford Transit which is an interesting companion piece to Paradise Now. It gives a look at a bit of Palestinian life and hears Palestinians talking about their ambivalence towards terrorism, which I think Abu-Assad carries into the later film.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Yeah, I liked Ford Transit quite a bit (and wrote it up here) when I saw it at the VIFF in 2003.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 years later...

For future searches: Director Hany Abu-Assad.

This was simple yet informative, a look at the thinking that goes into becoming a walking bomb, that crazed thinking that enables one to take his own life in order to take out a busload of the enemy, which is also the thinking behind 9/11. There are a lot of people I wish would see this, but I suppose that is a selfish wish and even somewhat a political wish from my end. Sorry to say, it's one of those films that probably won't be watched much from this point on -- it lost its Academy nomination to Tsotsi, even though it won a European Film Award that year, but that doesn't matter to 99% of North Americans. So I guess it's had its day in the sun, which is really too bad. As has been said, it is no Battle of Algiers, but an excellent worldview study nonetheless.

finnegan wrote:

: Here's a double-feature I'd like to see: Paradise Now and Munich.

Certainly an interesting possibility. I think Paradise Now might have more in common with Syriana, though -- or at least one of its key subplots.

I wonder if it would juxtapose nicely with the monochrome children in The White Ribbon. Both films certainly have an oppressed people, a people that feel they have no ability to fight back, that the other regime is an occupier and has more weaponry and rules by force. They're both quiet films, both intense, although Haneke's is more intense as it delves into the terror issues with a little more force.

I did see the da Vinci "Last Supper" comparison, and momentarily thought of "death to new life" in a film titled Paradise Now making sense, but I passed it over quickly being reminded that: 1.) The director is Palestinian,

and 2.) I just described the same thing in Whip It and it certainly wasn't an homage there. Very cool to see exactly why the director wanted it framed in such a way, although I'm not certain I follow his reasoning, nevetheless it's intriguing to see elements of Christian mythos at work even in a culture that rejects a good portion of Our Story.

I know I saw this late in the game, so I looked up the director to see what's on the horizon. After creating a short for a Film that was inspired by the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, Wikipedia says that Abu-Assad is currently filming a movie entitled L.A. Cairo with DViant Films Inc.

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...