- April 28, 2006
- 44 minutes read
Paradise Now at City Stars Cinema From 28/4-5/5
Paradise Now” Directed by Hany Abu Assad, Academy Award Nominee, 2005 Best foreign language film 2005, Golden Globe winner, best foreign language film.
Title: PVA Film: “Paradise Now”
Date: From April 28, 2006 TO May 5, 2006
Paradise Now (الجنه الآن in Arabic) is a controversial but widely acclaimed 2005 film directed by Hany Abu-Assad about two Palestinian men preparing for a suicide attack in Israel. It won a Golden Globe for best foreign language film and was nominated for an Academy Award in the same category.
- Tagline: From the most unexpected place, comes a bold new call for peace.
Paradise Now follows two Palestinian childhood friends who have been recruited for a strike on Tel Aviv and focuses on what would be their last days together. 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.
- Kais Nashef — Said
- Ali Suliman — Khaled
- Lubna Azabal — Suha
- Amer Hlehel — Jamal
- Hiam Abbass — Said’s mother
- On January 31, 2006, the film was nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
- Paradise Now won “Best Foreign Language Film” for the 63rd Golden Globe Awards, the first time a Palestinian film was nominated for such an award.
Other awards won
- 2005 Berlin International Film Festival:
- Amnesty International Film Prize
- AGICOA 2005 Blue Angel Award
- Reader Jury of the “Berliner Morgenpost”
- Amnesty International Film Prize
- 2005 European Film Awards:
- Best Screenplay
- 2005 Independent Spirit Awards:
- Best Foreign Film
- 2005 National Board of Review Awards (USA) :
- Best Foreign Language Film
- 2005 Golden Calf (Netherland’s Film Festival):
- Best Feature Film (Beste Lange Speelfilm)
- Best Editing (Beste Montage)
- Best Feature Film (Beste Lange Speelfilm)
- 2005 Durban International Film Festival (South Africa)
- Best Director 
- 2005 Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards
- Best Foreign Language Film
- 2005 Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards
- Best Foreign Film
- Variety: “Handsomely shot in widescreen, mostly on actual West Bank locations, and well-played by the cast, pic lays out the issues in an accessible but rather too over-correct way, seemingly eager to please all parties at the expense of real passion.” 
- Entertainment Weekly: “Shooting with energy and a great sense of storytelling, Abu-Assad gambles, astutely, that disappointing those who demand complete condemnation — or support —is a risk worth taking if it furthers the causes of peace and justice, not to mention exciting filmmaking.”
- The New York Times: “’Paradise Now’ sustains a mood of breathless suspense. Politics aside, the movie is a superior thriller whose shrewdly inserted plot twists and emotional wrinkles are calculated to put your heart in your throat and keep it there.” 
- New York Post: “Too bitterly real to be a comedy, but its irony is a useful tool for needling terrorists from the inside.”
- Rolling Stone: “What does amaze is the humane and nonpartisan treatment of the topic by Palestinian director and co-writer Hany Abu-Assad. By detailing two days in the lives of these young mechanics — they’ve been friends since childhood — as they prepare to sacrifice their future for a cause they barely understand, the director puts a human face on the headlines.” 
- National Public Radio: “Paradise Now is a powerful and provocative drama about the nightmare of terrorism. It gets its strength from its dispassion. It is uncompromising in its determination to explain, rather than justify, incomprehensible acts…You may think you’ll be seeing Paradise Now for its relevance, but its life-and-death drama is what will keep you transfixed.” 
- Los Angeles Times:“..A powerful, poignant, provocative drama, it gets its strength from its dispassion, from an uncompromising determination to explain rather than justify or condemn, to put a human face on incomprehensible acts.”
- Hollywood Reporter:“Abu-Assad keeps the portrait of the militants balanced and nuanced. No one is presented as a villain or crazed individual. This may not be the way some would like to see Islamic extremists portrayed, but they are all the more frightening for their ordinariness.”
- San Francisco Chronicle:“The film captures the bleakness of the West Bank and, more powerfully, shows us lives so grim that the thought of paradise now seems enticing.” 
- Arizona Daily Star: “Hany Abu-Assad, a Palestinian born in Israel, sketches his tale with insight and vigor, daringly poking at both sides of the conflict that has burdened his life since birth.” 
- Arizona Republic:“A risk-taking but enlightening film that takes the novel approach of examining the Israeli-Arab impasse from the perspective of the Palestinians.” 
- Chicago Tribune: “catches and keeps your attention because of its daring subject, real-life backdrops and the intensity of its actors.” 
- Chicago Sun-Times :“Certainly what Said says will not come as a surprise to any Israeli. It’s simply that they disagree.We may disagree, too, and yet watch the film with a fearsome fascination.” 
- The Boston Globe: “Paradise Now’ fall into place too easily. In presenting characters who make arguments for and against participating in a bombing, the movie feels curiously equivocal. It’s too simply reasoned and too tidily made to shake you up. ” 
- Philadelphia Inquirer : “With a documentarian’s eye and a dramatist’s urgency, Abu-Assad sneaks into the mind of a suicide bomber, and also his heart.” 
- Christian Science Monitor:“He attempts with mixed results to get inside the psyches of men who would blow themselves up for the cause.”
- The Seattle Times:“Visually arresting (the widescreen format quickly becomes indispensable) and consistently well-acted (especially by the intense Nashef), “Paradise Now” is not without its humorous touches.” 
- The Miami Herald: “It would be difficult to undertake a more politically relevant film or explore a more volatile subject, and Abu-Assad attempts his project with skill and sensitivity.” 
- The Washington Post:“Paradise” may not change anyone’s ideology, but it should convince some that, but for some deeply divisive views of religious morality, people are pretty much the same on either side of the holy fence.”
- The Salt Lake Tribune:“What is striking about “Paradise Now” is the stark way Abu-Assad lays out the situation, unvarnished and unbiased.” 
- Sydney Morning Herald: “The film is made in a quiet and sober observational style, a bit like an Iranian film. The pace quickens as the men suit up with their deadly cargo but, again, the director surprises with his story.” 
- Financial Times: “Paradise Now, Hany Abu-Assad’s brilliantly crafted drama about two Palestinian suicide bombers, gives a new reality to the phrase “theatre of war”. 
- Empire: “To say it’s a delicate subject would be almost insultingly understating the case, and although it doesn’t all work, Abu-Assad handles the story with appropriate care, giving the audience plenty to mull over.” 
- Evening Standard: “At one point, Khalid records his last will and testament, AK-47 held aloft. But a malfunctioning video camera and militants noisily munching sandwiches in the background disturb the gravity of the proceedings. Given all the condemnation he’s faced, it is just as well that Abu-Assad hasn’t lost his sense of humour.” 
- The Guardian:“Paradise Now takes its place in the traditional choreography of our liberal debate about terrorism: the question of whether the suicide bombings are justified is generally answered in the negative, though with the proviso that they have to be explained or contextualised. And that is what this film tries to do, powerfully, plausibly and valuably.” 
- Radio Times : “Topical as today’s headlines and tense as any Hitchcock thriller” 
- The Daily Mirror: “While it’s admirable to see a movie shining a light into what makes someone strap explosives to their chest, Paradise Now is a little too talky in places to earn that fifth star while the action scenes in the third act could’ve been tightened up. Still, here’s a movie that refuses to compromise and that’s what I call film-making at its bravest.”
- New Statesman: “Paradise Now is unlikely to shift or soften anybody’s politics. Regardless of that, however, it has the great advantage of letting an audience feel it is seeing things it would otherwise never see.” 
- The Daily Telegraph: “To make a film with two Palestinian central characters who become suicide bombers could be construed as provocative. But when the same film is also calm, analytical and even-handed, the very antithesis of propaganda, it becomes something remarkable.” 
- Paradise Now was in contention for a foreign-language Oscar largely thanks to a fight waged on behalf of another Palestinian film, Divine Intervention, which was disregarded for Oscar contention in 2002 because foreign language entries need to be sponsored by their country of origin, and Palestine did not count as a country. Puerto Rico, Hong Kong and Taiwan have been submitting entries for years although they are not countries with full United Nations representation.
- In an Interview with the Telegraph, Hany Abu-Assad said , “if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t do it again. It’s not worth endangering your life for a movie.” 
- On March 1, 2006, it was reported that a group representing Israeli victims of suicide bombings had asked the Oscar organizers to disqualify the film .
- Controversy arose after The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (who nominated it for an Oscar) designated the film afterwards as a submission from The Palestinian Authority, rather than Palestine, as it was when it was sent to the Academy, and when it won a Golden Globe. The decision angered the director-writer Hany Abu-Assad, who said it represented a slap at the Palestinian people and their national identity. 
- Israeli officials, including Consul General Ehud Danoch and Consul for Media and Public Affairs Gilad Millo, have managed to extract a guarantee from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that Paradise Now “will not” be presented in the ceremony as representing the state of Palestine, despite the fact it is introduced as such in the Academy Awards’ official website. 
- In an interview with a Jewish American Tikkun magazine , Hany Abu-Assad was asked “When you look ahead now, what gives you hope?”, “The conscience of the Jewish people” he answered. “The Jews have been the conscience of humanity, always, wherever they go. Not all Jews, but part of them. Ethics. Morality. They invented it! I think Hitler wanted to kill the conscience of the Jews, the conscience of humanity. But this conscience is still alive…Maybe a bit weak…But still alive. Thank God.” 
- Palestine’s Minister of Culture, Attallah Abu al-Sibbah, wanted to censor the film before being screened commercially in the Gaza strip Cinema.
- In Hany Abu-Assad’s Golden Globe acceptance speech he made a plea for a Palestinian state, saying he saw the Golden Globe as “a recognition that the Palestinians deserve their liberty and equality unconditionally” .
- Co-producer of Paradise Now is a Jewish Israeli, Amir Harel, who told reporters that “First and foremost the movie is a good work of art”, adding that “If the movie raises awareness or presents a different side of reality, this is an important thing.”
- Israel Film Fund is underwriting the film’s distribution in Israel.
- Whilst filming in Nablus, Israeli helicopter gunships launched a missile attack on a car near the film’s set one day, prompting six crew members to abandon the production for good. 
- Paradise Now’s location manager was kidnapped by a Palestinian faction during the shoot and was not released until Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s office intervened.
- A land mine exploded 300 meters away from the set. 
- Hany Abu-Assad and co-writer Bero Beyer started working on the script in 1999, but it took them five years to get the story before cameras. The original script was about one man searching for his friend, who is a suicide bomber, but it evolved into a story of two friends, Said and Khaled.
- Official website
- Paradise Now at The Internet Movie Database
- “The making of Paradise Now”, BBC News
- Toronto International Film Festival 2005
- Paradise Now wins Golden Globe
- “Israel shuns Paradise Now” Al jazeera
- “Suicide Bombers Are People, Too” Newsweek
- “’It was a joke I was even nominated” The Guardian
- “Suicide bomber story contender for foreign Oscar” USA Today
- Israel lobbies against “Palestine” tag at Oscars Reuters
- “Will “Paradise Now” Be the Biggest Arabic-Language Film Ever? Indiewire
- “Middle East tensions hang over Palestinian nominee for an Oscar”San Francisco Chronicle
- “Bereaved parents call on Oscars to drop suicide bomb movie” The Telegraph
- “Artistically correct — the imperfect imbalance” New Anatolian
- “Pride and anguish at first Palestinian Oscar party”Washington Post
- “So what if the Jews run Hollywood?” Ha’aretz
- “78th Academy Awards: Palestinian film loses Oscar but wins honour” Morocco Times
- “I risked my life to make this movie” The Telegraph
- “Bomb Culture” BFI Sight & Sound
- Paradise Now openDemocracy