Palestine / Netherlands / France / Israel / Germany, 2004 (MIFF 2005, Homelands Now: The Middle East in Focus)
Director: Hany Abu-Assad
People the world over are baffled by the act of suicide bombing. Whatever one's political view, it is virtually incomprehensible. Dutch-based Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad delivers a powerful and measured inquiry into this act of martyrdom in his Berlin 2005 award-winning [Paradise Now]. The film traces the last days before childhood friends Said and Khaled are to carry out a suicide bombing. In every other way, these new recruits are quite ordinary men, who speak little of politics or religion as they go about their lives. Yet they are adamant that the dignity of Palestinians has been shredded by Israeli occupation. With bombs strapped to their bodies their plans go awry, leaving each to act alone and according to his convictions. Suha is a young Palestinian woman who has returned from Europe and is convinced that a Palestinian state must be achieved through peaceful means. Her entry into the narrative allows Abu-Assad to deliver a textured and nuanced exploration of this alarming act of political insurgency and self-sacrifice.