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Paradise Now

What should life be? Who should you love? What should you eat? Should you study? Where should you work? How should you dress? What passion should drive you?

Living a good life is about having freedom. Freedom to make these choices, and more. And the absence of freedom is absence of these choices. Or any choices, for that matter. This is the message of Paradise Now.

It’s the story of two close friends, members of a cell of a militant Palestinian group, selected to carry out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. At first blind believers in their organization and religion, their struggle for truth and right action is depicted as they are forced to abort their initial attempt and come into contact with a human rights activist.

They have contrasting personalities. One is extroverted and confident while the other is inward looking and thoughtful. One is full belief in himself while the other is constantly doubtful, haunted by rememberance of a father who betrayed his people and was executed for it. Ultimately, one chooses to renounce violence – no doubt to go back to his home and be humiliated as a coward and unbeliever. The other carries out his mission despite his misgivings, and faces a death which he doubts will gain him paradise.

We all know what happens next. Read the news. They become letters and numbers in the third column of the bottom half of the international news page. Nobody wins.

An excellent movie.