Paradise Now

The programme ‘Where Do We Go Now?’ – Arab Women behind the Camera also includes Hany Abu-Assad’s third feature film, Paradise Now, which follows the last twenty-four hours of two young Palestinian friends as they prepare to go on a suicide mission in Tel Aviv. Only Suha, the daughter of a fallen Palestinian fighter, is able to create doubt in their minds about the justice of their mission.

Said and Khaled are two young friends who work as car mechanics. When the two are approached to carry out a suicide attack in Tel Aviv, they readily agree. Said only begins to have misgivings when he takes his leave of Suha (Lubna Azabal). She is the daughter of a fallen Palestinian resistance fighter who believes only in peaceful protest, not in explosives.

Abu-Assad’s third feature film is a realistic, humane portrait of suicide attackers, whose motives generally remain unknown. An important role is cut out for actress Lubna Azabal, who plays Suha and represents the voice of reason. Brussels-born Azabal earlier starred in films like Viva Laldjérie (2004, Nadir Moknèche) and the Shakespeare adaptation Coriolanus (2011). She was also cast in Rock the Casbah, (2013, Laïla Marrakchi) and in Incendies (2010) by Denis Villeneuve. The latter two films are also screened at the festival