The film Paradise Now tells the story of Khaled and Said, two Palestinian young men who are recruited for suicide missions in Israel. The two men live rather mediocre, uneventful lives until they are “hand picked” for the attack. The film goes on to tell an insightful story that humanizes the young men instead of vilifying them.
While Khaled and Said are at work they have a confrontation with an unhappy customer that results in Khaled’s job being terminated. Before the end of their workday Said meets a young woman by the name of Suha, who is also the daughter of an Islamic revolutionary. There is some foreshadowing of Suha possibly becoming a romantic interest of Said. As Said is on his way home he encounters Jamal, who is a teacher and a member of an unnamed Palestinian resistance force. He informs Said that he and Khaled have been chosen to become Martyrs together in accordance with their wishes. Their final night is to be spent with their families.
The two men are able to contemplate their fates. As the movie goes on, it is discovered that Said’s father was a collaborator with the Israelis and he was executed. There is a moment in the movie when Said’s mother tells her son that he looks just like his father. This prompts Said to have a conversation with his mother about the kind of man that his father was. In the middle of the night Said goes to the house of Suha to return her keys to her because he knows that the next day will be his last. The coupling of these things forces Said to wonder whether or not what he is doing is the right thing to do. The next day the young men arrive at a compound where they are cleansed, eat a last meal and make Martyr videos.
The movie Paradise Now acted as a supplement to the class material and the coupling of the two aided in a deeper understanding. For example, the literature always vilifies the Arab suicide bomber. It gives the misconception that the bomber is just evil and demonic. In contrast, the...