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Every Monday the Journey with Jesus posts a new essay based upon the Biblical Lectionary, a film review, a book review, and a poem or prayer. The Eighth Day is published every Wednesday.

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The Journey with Jesus: Film Reviews

Film Reviews by Dan Clendenin

Paradise Now (2005)—PalestinianParadise Now (2005)—Palestinian

We first meet the childhood friends Said and Khaled as ordinary garage mechanics, but not too far into this movie their spiritual adviser Jamal informs them that they have been appointed for a suicide bombing mission in Tel Aviv. As young Palestinians doomed to a future of oppression and poverty, we sense their humiliation and hopelessness. We watch as they are promised glory as martyred heroes and transport to heaven by angels. If it is possible, we can almost "understand" how and why someone would volunteer for such a mission. Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad explores the religious, the socio-economic, the deeply personal, and the violently political in these two characters. But to his credit, Abu-Assad does not take this film in a linear direction. Said's girlfriend Suha, who was born in France and raised in Morocco, objects to their plan for reasons of both principle and prudence. Technical glitches complicate the mission, family matters enter, and at one point Said and Khaled get separated. Only in the last two minutes of this nail biter do you learn the outcome. In Arabic with English subtitles.