Monday, February 7, 2011

Paradise Now, or Waiting for Someone to Blow Up

I knew what this movie was about before watching it (of course) and seriously expected the woman to blow herself up at that check point in the first five minutes. But, no one blows up which is incredibly restrained in a film about suicide bombers.

This film as a whole was incredibly restrained in quite a remarkable way. There are a million and fifteen ways to exploit the situation for and against each side. That this movie manages to be exclusively about the Palestinian side without outright demonizing the Israeli side or exploiting either side is quite remarkable. Yes, we see the oppression but we do not see the spectacle of the actual suicide bomb. In that way, the film not only gives the viewer the "there must be another way" argument but the film enacts that argument. Said probably blows himself and the passengers of that bus to bits but we don't see it--we see the humanity left behind. The humanity that is unchanged save the mourning for the lost son/friend/potential love/comrade. The film shows us in a rather poignant way that suicide bombing doesn't reap the results promised and it avoids showing the viewer the terror porn that a suicide bombing would be in a film. After all, this is not a Michael Bay film.

Now, if the film perfect? No (a little editing of Said's speech before being sent out for the last time would have been lovely). But, this film is pertinent and that gets it my vote over What Time Is it There?


  1. I totally thought she was going to blow herself up too! And I kept wincing whenever Said was running around, getting tackled, etc., with that belt on.

    So you thought the "big speech" was a little heavy handed as well?

  2. I know--lean in for a kiss and ((BOOM))

    Yeah and it felt really forced. Here's this guy who has a great economy of words for the whole movie and when he bursts/cracks/whatever *that* is what comes out? Plus we'd really already gotten all of that info before.