Since when does Palestine get recognized by any facet of the entertainment industry? Since a film from that region won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film on Sunday. Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad’s taut thriller, “Paradise Now,” surprised all by picking up the coveted award. The win gave Abu-Assad an unexpected forum to express his love for Palestine. After sweetly flubbing his thanks to the Hollywood Foreign Press for recognizing his film, he quietly announced the win was for the Palestinian people, for their cause, for their freedom.
The movie, shot on location in the West Bank and Israel, explores the motivation and psyche of two Palestinian suicide bombers. Abu-Assad’s clever touch makes for a dual film: It’s an action-packed thriller as well as a sensitive study at how the dismal situation in Palestine creates a breeding ground for suicide bombers.
The independent film circuit has seen a number of wonderful, thought-provoking films come from Israel and the Palestinian region in the last decade. As a film reviewer when I lived in New York, I was privy to many intriguing documentaries, dramas, and docudramas covering all aspects of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And though this film has flopped in Israel, it’s great to see it receive accolades in this country. I hope it paves the way for more filmmakers to bring attention to that region of the world.