Last Friday a suicide bomber blew himself up in Tel Aviv killing four Israelis. This was the first suicide attack in Israel since November. Five days before, on February 20, the Berlin Film Festival or “Berlinale” came to a close with the awarding of its coveted prizes. The “Blue Angel” Award for Best European Film went to what was undoubtedly the most talked about film in the competition: Hany Abu-Assad’s “Paradise Now”, a by all accounts – including the director’s – sympathetic portrayal of two young Palestinian men recruited to carry out a suicide attack in Tel Aviv. The description of the film in the Berlinale program notes that on the day of the “operation”, things do not go according to plan. “Separated from each other and left to their own devices,” the program comments, “it’s up to them to face their destiny and stand up for their convictions.”
In addition to the “Blue Angel” Award, “Paradise Now” won the “Audience Prize” sponsored by the Berlin newspaper the Morgenpost and intended to capture the sentiments of the public as opposed to the supposedly expert opinions of the jury.