I found out that The Lemon Tree wasn’t out in video yet when I went to Trilogy Video, in Downtown Portland. I shuffled through the Middle Eastern section until I came acrossParadise Now. It had those awards and nominations on the cover in gold, so I assumed it must be decent and rented it.
Said and Khaled are two Palestinian men living in Nablus, a Palestinian town in Northern West Bank. Frustrated for living in an open-air prison, the two volunteer with a resistance organization and are recruited to carry out a suicide mission in Tel Aviv together. After seeing their family and friends for the last time (whom are unaware of their mission)procceed on going to Tel Aviv. Said is having second-thoughts on sacrificing himself, while Khaled is motivated more than. After some complications the two are given a second chance on deciding whether or not they want to go through with the mission, and things change; Khaled is hesitent after a conversation with Abu Azzam’s daughter, Suha, who persuades him that a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv will only work against the intifada. Said however, is more ready than ever.
Paraidse Now was the first Palestinian movie to be nominated for the Oscars Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. However, because Palestine is not recognized as a soverign state, Israeli officials complained that it did not follow the requirements to be nominated, regardless that movies have been nominated from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Peurto Rico, that are also not recognized as soverign states.
Family members of Israelis that have been killed in suicide bombing attacks have denounced the film, and have protested that it not be showed because the film supposedly would lead people to “immoral”, terrorists attacks.
Others go as far as calling it a Nazi film.
What it really is a film humanizing Palestinians who sacrifice themselves as a method of resisting Israel’s imprisonment and oppression of the Palestinian people and their land (West Bank, and Gaza). Khaled and Said are two Palestinians sick of being prisoners in their own homeland. Paradise Now is a story of these two’s last days and what they discover about life and resistance.
Sahu and Khaled argue between peaceful resistance and violent ones, which ultimately leads to the deciding factor of the end of the movie. (:56-3:00)
When asked “When you look ahead, what gives you hope?” by Tikkun Magazine, Director Hany Abu-Assad answered,
“The conscience of the Jewish people. The Jews have been the conscience of humanity, always, wherever they go. Not all Jews, but part of them. Ethnics. Morality. They invted 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.”