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Paradise Lost
Israel, 2003, 56 minutes, Color, DVD, Hebrew, Subtitled
Order No. W04828
Arab Israeli filmmaker Ibtisam Salh Mara'ana grew up in Paradise (Fureidis in Arabic), a small fishing village overlooking the Mediterranean. One of the few Arab communities remaining after the 1948 war, Paradise became culturally and politically isolated as Jewish settlements sprung up around it, and today it is a place defined by silence and repression.

This thought-provoking and intimate film diary follows the director’s attempt to recreate the village’s lost history, including the story of her childhood hero Suuad, the legendary local “bad girl” who was imprisoned as a PLO activist in the 1970’s and banished from the community. The director’s frustration builds as her questions are resisted, and her hopes soar when she finally meets Suuad, now a Doctor of Law living in the UK. Stunning cinematography and evocative music underscore the power of Mara’ana’s film, whose lyrical, emotionally charged tone is strikingly honest and straightforward. Presenting the rarely heard voice of an Arab Israeli, this important film offers valuable insight into the contradictions and complexities of modern womanhood and national identity in the Middle East.


DocAviv Int'l Documentary Film Festival, Best Debut Documentary and Best Cinematography
Int'l Spring Doc Festival, Best Script award for Co-productions, First-Creation Photography Award
Women's Festival in Rehovot, Documentary Award

  • London Human Rights Film Festival

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    “A superb feminist exploration of relations contextualized within internal oppression and external colonialism and estrangement…”
    Nahlia Abdo
    Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University

    “Recommended…provides much insight into the lives of Palestinians.”
    Debra Mandel
    Educational Media Reviews Online

    “A moving and sometimes humorous record of the travails and joys of women’s struggles to redefine the meaning of belonging in a traditional society, in a security state, in a global world.”
    Jami Khader, PhD
    Stetson University

    “Sensitive and complex…a gem of third wave feminism.”
    Dorit Naaman
    Queens University

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    Paradise Lost is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us