Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. Palestine/France/Germany/Netherlands/Israel, 2005. Augustus Film, Lama Productions, Razor Film Produktion GmbH, Lumen Films, Arte France Cinema, Eurimages, Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Hazazah Pictures, Lama Films, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Nederlands Fonds voor de Film. Screenplay by Hany Abu-Assad, Bero Beyer. Cinematography by Antoine Heberle. Produced by Bero Beyer, Amir Harel, Gerhard Meixner, Hengameh Panahi, Roman Paul. Music by Jina Sumedi. Production Design by Olivier Meidinger. Costume Design by Walid Mawed. Film Editing by Sander Vos. Academy Awards 2005. Golden Globe Awards 2005. Independent Spirit Awards 2005. National Board of Review Awards 2005. Toronto International Film Festival 2005.
At once a powerful political message and an impressively entertaining film, this heartbreaking drama tells the story of two men living on the West Bank who are preparing to go on a suicide bombing mission in Tel Aviv to protest the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The film gives us an inside view of their lives and their families, refusing to let us see them as heartless radicals and giving a bird’s eye view into their living situation that will not soon be forgotten. Rarely does a film about war demand peace in such direct terms, and director Hany Abu-Assad should be commended for doing so while also directing a film so compelling and dramatically engrossing. Political filmmaking hasn’t been mixed with drama so well since Luis Puenzo’s The Official Story.