Tuesday, January 16, 2007

On Sunday I watched Paradise Now, a film about suicide bombers which I had been dying to see (no pun intended) ever since it came out last year. Yet I could never find the right mood for watching it. (NYT review) (spoilers ahead).
The film manages to create detailed and plausible scenarios for why these two friends want to become suicide bombers and shows how they prepare for it, while still denouncing the act by including a character who to me embodies life itself and the promise it holds -- Suha, the romantic interest of bomber Said. The seriousness and stoicism of preparing and carrying out the act is broken by mundane events; the camera fails to work after a heartfelt martyr's speech by Khaled, the terrorist organization doesn't prepare for aborting the mission, there is miscommunication with one of its operatives (later Khaled fumes: "why didn't they have cell phones!), and Said is forced to fix Suha's car with a bomb strapped to his chest. This was a great film that manages to describe the extremely personal reasons why these men decide to become suicide bombers while denouncing their decision to do so.

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