Pierre Rehov reviews the new Warner Bros. backed film “Paradise Now” for Front Page:
As a filmmaker of the new documentary Suicide Killers, I will tell you that Hany Abu-Assad’s film Paradise Now is an artistically fashioned fiction. A dangerous fiction about dangerous people in a dangerous world. As fiction, his film stages good and bad characters. And since the film is about the final days of life for two suicide bombers, the killers automatically become the heroes.
Hany Abu-Assad tries to portray his heroes as human beings. On this, I could not agree more. In his interview with Newsweek, he says the Palestinians “wanted to see these characters as superheroes, as almost inhuman in their great powers.” “Suicide Killers,” as I call them in my documentary, represent the saddest of human tragedies in their denial of life for death.
Depending on our point of view, we could justify anyone’s behaviour. The temptation would be great to make a film on Charles Manson or Jack the Ripper from an inside perspective that excuses their actions, just as we could rationalize Nazism by the poverty in which the Versailles Treaty emerged from Germany in the twenties. But in all cases””including suicide bombings””it’s important to identify the real causes and not make them up. Unfortunately, when we deal with the issues of Moslem expansion, the desire for Islamic world domination, the intolerance of Occidental culture, the Muslim extremists” rejection of the modern world, their inferiority of women, and the glorification of jihad and shahada, the conclusion is always the same: to blame Israel or the United States.
Presented from the Palestinian point of view, moderate or otherwise, suicide bombings are the result of occupation, oppression, lack of freedom, and the desire for cultural pride. All of this reasoning is a lie. A myth. I spent hours speaking with would-be suicide bombers in Israeli jails and with their families in Gaza, Jordan, the West Bank and inside Nablus, where Paradise Now was filmed. And I am sorry to tell the Jury of the Amnesty International Award and the Best European Film Blue Angel Award and whoever is ecstatic about the courage and the sacrifice of these supposed heroes that they are just manipulated kids, victims of a system and a culture, or, as Dr. Boaz Ganor from the Hertzliya Center for Studies on Terrorism puts it, “stupid bombs and smart bombs at the same time.”…
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