Arab-Israeli filmmaker Ibtisam Mara'ana grew up in Paradise (Fureidis in Arabic), a small fishing village overlooking the Mediterranean. One of the few Arab villages remaining after the 1948 War, Paradise became culturally and politically isolated as Jewish settlements sprung up around it. Today, it is a place defined by silence and repression; a village whose men are unemployed, whose women tend to household chores, and where the Islamic Movement builds its strength among disheartened youngsters.
As the director attempts to retrace the lost history of her village, she is met with strong resistance from family and friends. She's warned not to be like Suaad Genem, the infamous village bad girl who was imprisoned for her role as a PLO activist in the 1970s. Many villagers viewed Suaad's actions as a threat to their safety, however she also became a role model for many young women who took pride in their Palestinian identity. The film follows the director to the UK as she seeks out her childhood hero, now Suaad George, a Doctor of Law married to a British man, but still haunted by her village past.
A rare film by an Arab-Israeli, Paradise Lost is a poignant look at issues of national identity and womanhood within the context of traditional Arab village life.
Director // Ibtisam Mara’ana
Producer // Duki Dror
Cinematographer // Nili Aslan
Editor // Sara Salomon
Original Score // Allah el Fahres
London Human Rights Film Festival, UK
Sao Paolo Film Festival, Brazil
Munich Documentary Film Festival, Germany
New York Human Rights Watch Film Festival, US
International Women's Film Festival, Israel
Taiwan International Film Festival, Taiwan
Best Debut Documentary | DocAviv Documentary Film Festival, Israel
Best Cinematography | DocAviv Documentary Film Festival, Israel
Driven by intense emotional questions ... a portrait of the director as a young Arab woman trying to define her identity and shape her future in a reality that shifts from silence to repression.
A beautiful film, sad and fascinating, boldly climbing unpaved slopes ... groundbreaking.