"Paradise Now" is the story of two young men as
they embark upon what may be the last 48 hours of their lives.
On a typical day, amidst crushing poverty and occasional rocket
blast, we meet two childhood best friends, Said and Khaled
whose paths are instantly altered when they are recruited
to carry out a strike in Tel Aviv. They have been chosen for
this mission as a team because each had expressed a wish that
if either has to die a martyr, the other would want to die
alongside his best friend. When they are intercepted at the
Israeli border and separated from their handlers, a young
woman who discovers their plan causes them to reconsider their
actions. This gripping and engaging film outlines the complexities
of the situation and explores the intensity of their relationship,
exposing their internal struggles during those final days.
any academic scholar would tell you, the mass media is a power
platform to discuss and explore political issues and ideas.
Just look at 2006’s Oscars, we’ve got quite a
handful of really serious and somber nominated shows: Steven
Spielberg’s Munich, George Clooney’s Syriana and
Fernando Meirelles’ The Constant Gardener.
these films are somewhat angry-toned and solemn in their delivery,
we are glad their foreign counterpart Paradise Now is an elegantly-made
film about the equally-grave issues our world is facing today.
film tells the story of two childhood friends who are called
by an extremist group to carry out a suicide bombing in Tel-Aviv.
The 90-minute film chronicles the rituals and what happens
to the two of them right up to the moment they are separated
at the border. Panic, confusion, confliction and self-doubt
begin enveloping the two best friends, resulting in a quiet
but powerful finale. And we must say this is one of the most
effective and affecting conclusion to a film we have seen
in a while.
glad our friends at the censorship board have allowed this
piece of work to be shown locally, and now, available for
home viewing. Of course, we understand that in our multi-racial
country, there may be worries of cultural insensitivities
with the portrayal of these two protagonists. But we assure
you, the film is approached with so well that any discerning
viewer would understand where 45-year-old director Hany Abu-Assad
is coming from.
is no outright exploitation in this award-winning film, only
an empathetic showcase of human emotions and a strong plot
about two friends going on a mission. Ideas of the nation,
patriotism and what it means to be an individual are represented
by the two characters. In fact, during the Oscar season in
March, there were some controversies about whether Palestine
should be regarded as a nation due to its political background.
We, of course, shall not go into that debate here.
of casting, it helps that Kais Nashef and Ali Suliman, the
two young men playing the two lead characters give heartfelt
performances that will have viewers identifying with their
striking aspect of this work is its simplicity. There is no
fanciful camera work and editing in this film. There doesn’t
even seem to be any trace of music score. With everything
laid bare, it makes the audiences realize and value the potent
and poignant message behind this film.
At the end of the day, it made us realize that politics need
not be always about pompously important people and events.
The simplest and most personal stories may sometimes carry
the most powerful message.
The visual transfer maintains the film look of the movie,
and viewers have a choice between Arabic Dolby Digital 2.0
extra features are included in this Code 3 DVD, though it’d
be nice to see some making-ofs and interviews about how this
film is conceptualized and realized on the big screen.
DVD RATING :
by John Li