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Transcript of Paradise Now
Directed by Hany Abu-Assad
Tracking the Shot
Locations: Nablus and Tel Aviv
Year: early 2000s
Located in the West Bank, Nablus is a place built on agricultureal farming and trading. Due to occupation it has been cut off for the most part since the early 2000's. The unemployment rate within the city is at roughly 60% the city is surrounded by check points and thus many businesses refuses to move into the city as a result jobs are nearly impossible to find.
Said and Khaled, childhood friends, are living in Nablus during this time and have volunteered to become suicide bombers for a militant cell in the city
Contrast they setting they grow up in with the city they enter Tel Aviv when in the city you notice from their observations the joy and wealth almost being thrown in their face. It appears as though they have entered a vacation destination.
Patterns: parallels and uncertainty
- contrast between Said and Khaled
-caution vs urgency
-both have been hurt by the occupation
-Jamal, question of manipulation?
Blue - represents depression or sadness in our culture. It represents protection in middle eastern culture.
Black and White - Black represents evil and white represents purity or mourning.
Green - a sacred color to Islam. It represents strength.
Going from long shots
Going from "big picture"
to personal story.
History of Checkpoints
In 1993, the first military checkpoints were set up along the lines drawn in 1949 separating Israel and Palestine.
There are stations at each border, between the Gaza strip and the West Bank, as well as between the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem and between different cities in Palestine.
Nablus: Lies in a strategic point between two ancient trade routes.
-control of the city was given to the Palestinian people on Dec 12, 1995
-The city has experienced multiple changing of rulers over the centuries
-522 were killed and 3,104 Palestinians were injured within the city during the second intifada in the early 2000s
Tel Aviv: An iconic bridge between Middle East and the rest of the world
-Once called Jaffa, a major port of the Arab people
-Changed hands many times during Crusades and Caliphates
-Jews started settling in 1881
-Tel Aviv has been a huge target of suicide bombings with a total of 86 people being killed and 390 injured since the First Intifada
In order to get through checkpoints, Palestinians are required to get individual passes, issued by the Israeli government.
As time has gone on, movement has become more and more limited, especially at the beginning of the Second Intifada in 2000.
Final Scene Setting
Khaled and Said are in Tel Aviv in a parking lot preparing for their bombing attack when Khaled withdraws from his desire to carry out the mission whilst Said tricks Khaled and sends him away so that he can carry out the mission on his own, Said enters into a scene on a bus filled with IDF and civilians where he carries out his mission.
After they find Said and he is questioned on his loyalties
-The camera shows the other mans face then moves to the back of his head to see said
-For a full to minutes the camera moves closer to his face and then rests there leaving him to fill the right side of the screen
-The camera could go back to the other mans face but it doesn't
-It lingers close to Said as he takes about collaborators and the death of his father
-It does this to captivate the viewer and make them listen to each word he says and see the emotion in his face
History of Collaborators
Collaboration is cooperation with the enemy against one's country in wartime. subdivided collaboration into:
involuntary (reluctant recognition of necessity) and
voluntary (an attempt of exploiting necessity)
Said blames the death of his father and collaboration of other Palestinians on Israelis.
The occupation weakens many people, leaving them with no other option and no way to protect or keep their family alive.
In the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT), a collaborator is understood as any Palestinian who cooperates with the Israeli security forces in the OPT or in Israel. Recruiting Palestinians as collaborators is perceived in the OPT as part of Israel’s policy to maintain control over the territory and the Palestinian people. Most cases of collaboration are found in interrogation centers and prisons where detainees are put under extreme physical and mental pressure to collaborate. Palestinian children often find themselves under such pressure.
A field survey with former child detainees conducted in 2003 estimated that 60 per cent of the children interviewed, some of them are as young as 12, were reported to have been tortured or other forms of coercion or inducement in an attempt to make them cooperate. By late 2003 in Gaza alone there were on average 40 attempts to recruit minors every month.
Accused of being recruited as informants by the Israeli authorities are at risk of stigmatization, exclusion, and on occasion, retaliation.
-The roles switch
-uncertainty --> certainty
Palestinian Suicide Bombings
Unfinished: is there
and what is the correct way to resist oppression; leaves it up to the viewer
-The first suicide attack ascribed to the Palestinian cause occurred on 16 April 1993, when a car bomb
exploded near Mechola in the Jordan Valley.
-Suicide attacks are usually carried out by militant organizations acting independently of each other. But recently an increasing number of these attacks have been claimed by the collaborative efforts of two or more Palestinian militant groups.
-1993-2004 there were 139 suicidal attack incidents (does not include failed attempts)
Speaks on how to resist oppression; why some people go to such extremes as murder/ suicide bombing
Leaves message that there is a lot of conflict within the resistance itself on whether or not to use violence as a tool of resistance
History of Non-Violent Palestinian Resistance
The Use of Technology
Dates back to Ottoman and British Mandate periods (1600s-1948)
General Strike of 1936 - against British colonial policies & exclusion of locals from government processes
1967- 1987 consisted of Women's Committees, Trade Unions & Voluntary Work Committees, Relief Committees, Youth/Student Movements & Prisoner Organizations
Resistance against building of the Wall (2002-Present) through the Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, local communities affected by the Wall, sit-ins, protests, etc.
Final Scene: Closure
Final Scene: Shot Tracking
The first was when both Said and Khaled had finished up a hard day of work. Said pulled out a tape that he had grabbed from Suha's car and played some Palestinian music. The tape player brought them joy and reconciliation towards their culture and religion.
The shots jump from face to face, showing the different reactions to what is happening, making this a personal event for each person, each on a different level.
The final shot is a long shot from the front of the bus Said is on, surrounded by Israeli soldiers, and ends on his face as he carries out his mission, thus marking the end of his journey as a character.
The second scene was when Khaled was recording a farewell video for their families and the community. The camera was used to view their situation from a different lens. Khaled talked about the will of God and how he had a plan for him and Said. The camera exploited their internal emotion that they had been experiencing for a long time.
Leaves the viewer with many questions; including who is right (if anyone), whether or not Said's form of resistance was effective, or if Suha's human rights group is more effective (Violence vs Non-violence).
Brings down the wall of stereotypes that most Westerners have towards "terrorists" and shows what they go through and how they are pushed to violence.
On March 13th 2009, in Nablus, Israel had attacked peaceful and nonviolent protesters, that were shot by teargas. The protesters decided to hold ground, before a group of twenty Israeli soldiers started to chase the demonstrators down to the village, beating up the Palestinians demonstrators, including a journalist, and international activists.
They began to illegally confiscate all the cameras that where being used to document the soldiers’ actions.
It is very odd to think about how simple it is to activate a bomb at anytime. With a pull of a string Said had ended numerous lives in an instant.
Making him feel a bit more comfortable because of the ease it brings towards the mission.
Creates alternate history
Said's photos - different from father
Khaled's farewell speech - doesn't capture his original passion
Collaborator confessions vs. Martyrs farewells
used during speech/video = power
character in itself, they don't even have control over it, once activated, can't be removed, a part of them
fear and strength
when first putting it on Khaled is afraid, later he is practicing it with it, a toy
hurts them both, Said in bathroom and Khaled taking it off
Israeli vs. Palestinian
A History of Guns
Palestinians casually going back and forth between the checkpoint
Normal, daily routine of many
Sound of bomb nearby; everyone half ducks down for a second then dismisses the sound
War/occupation has become natural for Palestinians and Israeli's and have adapted their lifestyle
They've learned to suppress their fear since they have no control over the outcome
513,000 Israeli military personnel vs.
62,200 Palestinian military personnel
U.S. gave Israel $8.5 million
for military aid in 2014
U.S. gave Palestine $0 for military aid in 2014
"If we had airplanes, we wouldn't need martyrs. That's the difference."
"The difference is that the Israeli army is still stronger.
What is the memory of him? To Khaled? To his mother? To Suha?
What did he do for the resistance?
How did he create an alternate history?
History of Violence in Palestine
Tactics include hostage taking, plane hijacking, shooting, stabbing, bombing
politically motivated violence
military & civilian targets
suicide bombings in this area began in the late 1980's
went from 1-5 bombings per year to more than 40 in 2001-2002, then gradually decreased
increased bombings led to an Israeli military response
Said face from the moment he arrived in Israel has held composure
Up until the end, his eyes held all emotion and the final scene holds on his eyes and only them
Had the same face and the same eyes throughout the movie and it was noticeable in the last scene.
You never see him pull the string, you don't see the civilians besides when the camera moves to him