Spritzophrenia

humour, music, life, sociology. friendly agnostic.

Posts Tagged ‘suicide bomb’

Paradise Now: A Powerful Movie

Posted by spritzophrenia on November 16, 2010

Yesterday I asked if Muslims would find the movie “Four Lions” funny? Well, at least some Muslims do:

Humour allows us to conquer our own fears of terrorism and terrorists, and allows us to feel brave. We see the human weaknesses of our opponents, instead of buying into the myths of an invincible robotic terror machine. The fear created by the myths – whether perpetuated by the bin Laden’s or the Bush’s of this world – is itself part of the terrorisation process. If we can defuse the myth, we can get down to tackling the criminals at the heart of the violence and destruction…

explosion NYC

…In a global Gallup poll of 50,000 Muslims across 35 countries, the results showed that of the seven per cent of Muslims who said the 9/11 attacks were justified, absolutely none quoted the Quran to support their view. Again, it is politics, not religion.” From Can Terror Be Funny? at AltMuslim. More Muslim commentary here and a good US-based review here. (Some spoilers in these.)

On to another movie on the same topic, much more serious and equally important. Released in 2005, I think Paradise Now is one of the most thought-provoking movies made. (Along with “Dead Man Walking”, “Milk”, “Food Inc”, “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Lord of War”.) Don’t worry, it’s not boringly didactic.

The movie follows Said and Khaled, two Palestinian friends who are recruited to be suicide bombers. This may be the last 48 hours of their lives. Drama, humanity, evil, love, romance, tragedy, comedy, it’s got it all. The movie is not really about the Israel/Palestine question, it merely assumes this as the background to the question of whether killing others in protest is valid. Perhaps even realism, not just humour, can take some of the scariness away. The film is not simplistic, and without giving away too much it portrays both the terrorist and pacifist points of view well. Both men and Khaled’s girlfriend have doubts, but I won’t tell you how it ends.

I was stunned by it.

Independent trailer for Paradise Now:

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Posted in ethics, hardship, Islam, life, Meaning of Life, Sociology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Dying for a Laugh

Posted by spritzophrenia on November 15, 2010

Or, How to Curse Really Well.

One of the disadvantages of being born in a country with no large wildlife is the lack of good swear words. “You’re a Kakapo’s bum” doesn’t compare with the exotic combinations of “Elephant”, “Donkey” and “Mother” which pepper Urdu and Hindi.

Well, I suppose the early Maori may have cursed about the Moa or the Giant Haast Eagle? “Your father is a Moa’s toenail. Now cook the man some eggs.”

laughing seal

My knowledge of Hindi was vastly improved by a work colleague who taught us how to swear in his language. This was mainly to tease another co-worker, by threatening to phone her mother and use these words in the conversation. She was a good Indian girl as far as her distant family were concerned, “Don’t you dare tell my parents about my boyfriend”. I think we did try out one or two phrases on a cab driver when we were drunk.

Boy, those cultures can really swear! Think of a body part, multiply by a large animal, insult its intelligence, give it a foul disease and have sex with it. That’s what a real insult is, none of this mild Anglo-Saxon rubbish. Perhaps even in their blasphemies the English are too polite.

Except the guys in Four Lions are also English. My knowledge of Pakistani swearing, which seems just as gleefully vile as Hindi, expanded by watching this film. Some time ago I listed top ten spiritual movies. I’ve discovered a few more, and this one would definitely make it into the list. Not because it’s spiritual as such, but because the story takes place within the current political and social climate of westernised Islam and offers wicked social commentary. Better than that, it’s hilarious.

Four Lions is the story of four English men wanting to martyr themselves for their faith. Unfortunately most of them are incredibly inept. At first I was concerned their failure and stupidity could appear racist, but it’s clear that other characters are also mentally challenged, for example the dim white girl who flats next door and the bumbling English authorities who deal with the group. I wonder what different Muslim communities think of this film? There are some poignant human moments too, and the social commentary is deeper than it first appears.

I don’t want to spoil it for you, so all I’ll say is: It’s funny— see it!

Four Lions Trailer

Guess what? There’s another fantastic movie about suicide bombers, I posted that here.

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Posted in humor, humour, Islam | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »