Sunday, August 07, 2011

"Paradise Now" and "Rescue Dawn" on Current TV

Last night I watched two excellent movies (on Current) I had never seen before.

"Paradise Now (Arabic: الجنّة الآن‎) is a 2005 film directed by Hany Abu-Assad about two Palestinian men preparing for a suicide attack in Israel. It won a Golden Globe for best foreign language film and was nominated for an Academy Award in the same category."

Nominated for an Academy Award? The American Academy Award? America is changing. 20 years ago this film might have been portrayed by American media as sympathetic to terrorists. Maybe conservative Americans still believe this.

The film focuses on two days in the lives of two young men living in the West Bank. They are chosen to be suicide bombers, so they were made to look like westerners. It's amazing how white some Palestinians look when they shave, cut their hair, and wear suits. I wonder if the movie would have received as much attention if the would-be suicide bombers were dark-skinned. It's an great movie nonetheless, and I'm glad to see it on American TV!

Also I am looking forward to seeing One Day in September, "a 1999 documentary film directed by Kevin Macdonald examining the 5 September 1972 murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany." The documentary was featured in 50 Documentaries To See Before You Die and it was shown on Current TV, but I missed it. I hope they show it again.

Immediately after Paradise Now I watched Rescue Dawn, "a 2007 war drama film directed by Werner Herzog, based on an adapted screenplay written from his acclaimed 1997 documentary, Little Dieter Needs to Fly. The film stars Christian Bale, and is based on the true story of a German-American pilot named Dieter Dengler, who is shot down and captured by villagers sympathetic to the Pathet Lao during an American military campaign in the Vietnam War."

The beginning of Rescue Dawn is footage of US aircraft bombing targets (in a jungle village) in Laos. It's a secret operation, one in which a pilot crashes and survives. He is caught, ends up in a POW camp with other Americans, he escapes, is caught again. What an ordeal!

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