The sequence shown on this page consists of brief shots, none of which last longer than a few seconds, save for the final shot of Said. The personal nature of the images stands against the reductiveness of the "universal Muslim" and emphasizes, despite the production of the men as martyrs, the heterogeneous nature of the Palestinian Resistance.

A photograph of Said before his martyrdom preparations





Re-imaginings of a Palestinian Resistance

Bertell Ollman writes that the dialectic is revolutionary because

“it helps us to see the present moment through which our society is passing, because it forces us to examine where it has come from and where it is heading as part of learning what it is, and because it enables us to grasp that as actors, as well as victims, in this process in which everyone and everything are connected, we have to power to affect it” (18-19).

By refusing the spectacle of violence as well as the melodramatic rhetoric and stereotyping of one side as good and another as evil, Abu Assad leads us to see this “moment through which society is passing” and to observe both victims and oppressors as well as victims who might also be murderers. Without the distraction of spectacular violence the film moves beyond articulating  the colonial/anti-colonial struggle and pushes towards a third, or decolonized space for resistance, in line with Chatterjee’s decolonized imagination. This new space showcases the devastation reaped by this economy of retaliatory violence: the image track moves from destroyed families like Said’s or Suha’s to shots of a crumbling Nablus, in stark opposition to shots of a bright and sun-filled Tel Aviv.

In Dreams of a Nation, Edward Saïd writes that Palestinian cinema provides “a visual alternative, a visual articulation, a visible incarnation of Palestinian existence” that works against common media images of Palestinians as violent terrorists or heroes and represents a  “collective identity.” Therein lies the most subversive aspect of Abu Assad’s film: Paradise Now intervenes in, and complicates, a mediascape that generally depicts, and engages with, only two sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Paradise Now refuses the cathartic release of melodrama and the “pre-digested” message of the political thriller; the film offers a “visual alternative” and demands a new space for resistance, which emerges from and thrives on the heterogeneous nature of Palestinian identity itself.

Suha alone in her house looking at the photograph of Said Suha
Jamal, Saidís handler The resistance cell leader
Saidís mother Khaled, changing his mind
Said on bus Said: final close up.

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