Director Hany Abu-Assad has created a masterpiece in Paradise Now, the story of Said (Kais Nashef) and Khaled (Ali Suliman), two Palestinian friends preparing for a suicide bombing in Tel-Aviv. The film discusses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with poignant portrayals of the land, people, food and family life in the Palestinian settlement of Nablus. Abu-Assad creates an insightful piece of art, eschewing bias, lavish language and action sequences in exchange for extended periods of silence and undecorated dialogue to create a window into the West Bank.

The somberly emotional subject matter is sprinkled with touching moments of humor, such as the opening sequence when Said and Khaled's boss claims that a car bumper is crooked and, in response to the boss's persistent nagging, Khaled grabs a hammer and destroys the bumper saying, "Now, it's crooked." The audience is exposed to characters' sentiments and expressions of oppression, desperation, hurt, fear and faith.

Ultimately the film preaches a message of peace. All the events come to head in an argument between Khaled and Suha (Lubna Azabal), his love interest, in which the characters must decide which method of resistance (violent or peaceful) to utilize. By personalizing all the people of this war, Paradise Now will affect everyone who sees it and call attention to an issue that is too easily forgotten.


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