Hany Abu-Assad – Omar (2013)

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Quote:
A subtle undercurrent exists in the visuals, which use cheerful billboard advertising, such as a mattress company with a man happily asleep, or a social responsibility pitch for “planting hope,” as casual background images to reinforce the disconnect between phony optimism and reality. Perhaps the sense of deja vu in the pic’s first half is necessary for the power of the second, in which treacheries are constantly guessed at and possibilities of redemption dissolve in a situation with no exit…

Omar does not offer the promise of a just or satisfying resolution, a fatalism all the more devastating given its realistic methods and humane, understated performances. The film’s final scene feels shocking and abrupt, but also chillingly inevitable, consistent with the logic of a situation that defies all reason. Continue reading

Hany Abu-Assad – Paradise Now (2005)

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Plot Synopsis by Josh Ralske

Said (Kais Nashef) is a young Palestinian living in Nablus, and working as a mechanic. He gets his friend Khaled (Ali Suliman) a job, but the hot-tempered and impulsive Khaled quickly loses it. Suha (Lubna Azabal), a pretty, well-traveled young woman and the daughter of a well-known “martyr,” brings her car in to be fixed, and flirts with Said. He’s clearly interested in her, so much so that he continues to think of her when he’s approached later that day by Jamal (Amer Hlehel), who tells him that he’s been selected for an important mission, a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, and that Khaled will be joining him, as they had requested. That night, Jamal stays with Said at his mother’s (Hiam Abbass) house, while another man stays with Khaled. Said sneaks off during the night to bring Suha her car keys, and has a brief discussion with her about her father’s death, and what options the Palestinians have in their dealings with Israel. Continue reading