Cinema - Paradise Now

The most amazing thing about Paradise Now is that director Hany Abu-Assad managed to make it at all. The film, shot in Palestine and Israel, tells the story of two young Palestinian men from the West Bank town of Nablus who are chosen as ‘martyrs’ to go on a suicide bombing mission in Tel Aviv. The title refers, of course, to the paradise in afterlife that they are promised as a result of their action. During the shooting of the film, which neither demonises nor romanticises its main characters, the film crew was forced to leave Nablus at gunpoint, the location manager was kidnapped by gunmen, and shooting was delayed by the explosions of land-mines a stone’s throw away.

Paradise Now is a character-led movie which turns into a thriller when things start going badly for the two suicide bombers. Said and Khaled have very different views on their mission. Khaled readily accepts that his death will lead to his martyrdom and a ticket to heavenly glory. Said, whose girlfriend Suha is the voice of more moderate ‘peace through negotiation’ views in the film, starts to question the extremist rhetoric that he is fed. Both eventually agree to be wired up with explosives, and cross the border into Israel. It is only when they get unexpectedly split up that the thriller element of the film – not its strongest point, actually - comes into play. Moving, surprising, and most of all extremely relevant, this is an important film you should go and see, the winner of the Amnesty International 2005 Best Film award. DL

Paradise Now: a well-shot thriller set on the Palestinian-Israeli border
All Saints, Friars Walk, Lewes
When? 8pm
How Much? £5