2 thoughts on ““Paradise Now” Wins Golden Globe, Can Oscar Be Far Behind? – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. I agree that this is a very important film. The filmmakers are clearly against suicide bombing. That anyone would think otherwise is beyond me, unless they never actually saw the movie.

    I see a lot of parallels with Munich in this movie.. The respective protagonists are given violent missions (assassinations in one, suicide bombing in the other) for the sake of their homeland. Each movie shows you why the main character would be motivated to carry on their mission. And in the end, each person questions these methods of dealing with their respective situations. Violence begets more violence. It doesn’t make it better for either party.

    Another thing that struck me about Paradise Now was that these young men were not portrayed as being particularly religious. They were not religious fanatics, fixated on meeting virgins in the afterlife or anything like that, which goes against the stereotype many have of a suicide bomber… I have found that movies, even well-meaning ones (i.e. not Islamophobic) like The War Within, tend to portray practicing Muslims as Islamist fanatics and the only reasonable, balanced Muslims are those who are non-practicing. Like you can’t practice Islam and be normal. This is extremely unrealistic, and indicative of filmmakers who have not likely met any practicing Muslims.

    Another thing I noticed was that the two men in Paradise Now never really questioned their “mission” until they met Suha, who strongly opposed suicide bombing, and believed that there were other ways of dealing with the occupation. It occurred to me that this may have been the first time that these young men had met ANY Palestinian who didn’t support suicide bombing. But she was raised in a different country. I couldn’t help but wonder if pro-suicide bombing is the only viewpoint young Palestinians are exposed to.

    Lastly, some may complain that this movie humanizes suicide bombers… and yes, it does. But they are human, and as abhorrent as suicide bombing is, the movie gives you a glimpse of the hopeless lives the Palestinian people live every day. This is real, and it’s complicated. Life is complicated. I would go so far as to say that what makes terrorists evil is that they don’t see their victims as human beings. What does that say about anyone else who has a problem with a film that portrays someone of a different nationality as fully human?

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