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“Paradise Now” by Hany Abu-Assad

The screenwriter of the Paradise Now and its director, Hany Abu-Assad, created the movie about two Palestinian men that want to detonate bombs at the military check point in Israel. In his script “Hany Abu-Assad raised important questions that connect gender, geography, politics, and culture in the West Bank” (Yaqub, 2010, p. 219) In other words, terroristic suicide of two childhood friends was not the main idea of the movie. The general idea of the movie is not whether we would go to Paradise or Hell: “It does not necessary deal with the eternal life promised to the suicide bombers” (Gertz and Khleifi, 2008, p. 193). It is about the situation that we may face nowadays. That is why it is difficult to admit whether the Paradise now was addressed against Palestinian or Israeli people. Still, the reaction of the audience was dubious.

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The majority of Israeli people were against the nomination of the movie for the Oscar. They argued that the Paradise Now had no any cinematographic significance as it depicted anti-Israeli facts that solicited to terroristic acts. However, the movie offers an opportunity to think over the reason of the war and confrontation: “the audience actively interrogates the group, seriously question their ideas and awareness of political reality” (Smith and Dean , 2007, p. 210). The movie is created in such a way that it is difficult to admit on whose side the film maker is. The significance of the movie is it suggests a food for thought. The film maker does not directly impose his view-point. The main mean to show the absurdity of war is the camera. An audience may judge the events as they see it through the camera. An what the audience saw was the Hell, but not Paradise.

The camera mostly accompanies to friends-Palestinians and turn by turn presents their common and separate stories (Bronstein, 2010). As an equivalent to a voice of an author in the literary narration a camera presents an eye of watcher. Still, while an author of a book sometimes directly express his/her point of view, a video film leaves a lot for audience’s consideration, encouraging watchers to start their own dialogues with the picture presented on the screen (Giannetti, 2010, p. 27). Role of a camera work in any film is indeed substantial. Nevertheless, in Paradise now it performs is sooner a kind of commentator, than indifferent observer of the events presented in the film. It is clearly presented even in the final episode of the movie, where the first episode presents us Said who is in the bus with Israeli people. Camera zooms in on his face and eyes, and display flashes with white color. The results of Said’s trip are clear.

Speaking about adaptation motives of the film, we can mention parallels that one can find examining the titles of the films Paradise Now and Apocalypse Now. Paradise that is considered to wait for suicide bombers turns into hell how. Thereby, titles in common are used as a kind of irony, as another hint that tells the audience about subjects, risen in the film.

There are some phenomena in the film that imply several meanings simultaneously. For example, a road may be interpreted as a metaphor and a motif simultaneously. As a metaphor, road presents loneliness of an individual who is lost in uncertainty. Main characters do not know if they will be able to reach their aim; they doubt the aim itself; of course, they cannot be sure, if the paradise really exist. As a motif, a road may be interpreted as a kind of cultural and general phenomenon connected with war and search of a truth. Characters’ road leads not only inside enemy territory but also inside eternal moral paradox: their acts are inhumane, but they still do it following their own certain motifs. Are they right? Above other symbols of the movie, a symbol of broken car may be singled out as an important one. Nadia Yaqub wrote that “a prevalence of broken in the film suggests that the entire social and economic fabric of Palestinian society is in trouble” (Yaqub 224-225), as long as a car is often considered a symbol of small private territory of a Palestinian.


Bronstein, P. (2010). Man-Made Martyrs in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Disturbing Manufactured Martyrdom in Paradise Now. Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, 52. Web.

Gertz, N., & Khleifi, G. (2008). Palestinian Cinema: Landscape, Trauma and Memory. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

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Giannetti, L. (2010). Understanding Movies (12 Edition). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Smith, H., & Dean, R. T. (2007). Improvisation, hypermedia and the arts since 1945. London: Routledge.

Yaqub, N. (2010). Narrating a Failed Politics. In J. Gugler (Eds.), Film in the Middle East and North Africa: Creative Dissidence (pp. 291-227). Texas: University of Texas Press.

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