If you crossed the Elvis Presley movie Paradise, Hawaiian Style with Coppolas Apocalypse Now, youd get . . . well, a film absolutely nothing like Paradise Now. Hany Abu-Assads tense, well-acted 2005 drama concerns two young men from the West Bank struggling with whether to carry out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. When it became the first Palestinian movie to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, it stirred up controversy both for its humanizing portrait of potential terrorists and for Oscars apparent implication that Palestine was a country.
The movie kicks off Paradise Valley Community College's Films of the Middle East series. Subsequent movies include The Bands Visit (Israel, 2007) on September 9, Wedding in Galilee (Palestine, 1987) on September 16, and a double feature of Jellyfish and West Bank Story (Israel and the U.S., 2007 and 2005) on September 23. The series then resumes on January 27, 2010, with Siddiq Barmaks heartbreaking 2003 Afghan film Osama.