The debate over Hany Abu Assad‘s “Paradise Now”, a new film that offers a portrait of a pair of Muslim suicide bombers (and is the Palestinian submission for Oscar consideration), has been quite an interesting discussion to follow, particular after two recent columns written by Anthony Kaufman for indieWIRE, one that has stirred some strong reactions…
Back in Toronto, Anthony wrote about “Paradise Now” and Joseph Castelo’s “The War Within”, an American indie film that explores the life of a would-be terrorist in New York City. At the time he criticized “War Within” as being “too morose and one-dimensional,” adding that the film “cultivates further stereotypes and irrational fears”, and further saying, “we’d all be better off if the film went away quietly.” Those comments caused quite a stir among the makers of the movie and lead to some critical emails in response.
Last week, Anthony dedicated his indieWIRE column to “Paradise Now”, writing that the movie “is poised to become the biggest Arabic-language film ever released in the United States.” That column stirred comments from “War Within’s” Castelo, who posted a comment, criticizing indieWIRE, calling the piece “propaganda”, offering a link to a positive article about his movie, and adding, “Good luck to all of you, including you Hany, I hope you make a ton of money. One need only to look at the headline of this article to understand what they are really concerned with.”
Today on his blog, Anthony Kaufman offered further comments about “Paradise Now”, saying:
I was struck by the closemindedness and intolerance I encountered about the Middle East conflict, and the GOD FORBID possibility, that a film would seek to understand someone desparate enough to kill him or herself, and others.