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Last Updated: Monday, 12 December 2005, 12:50 GMT
Suicide bomb film opens festival
Morgan Freeman at the Dubai Film Festival
Morgan Freeman was among the stars at the festival opening
A film about Palestinian suicide bombers has opened the Dubai International Film Festival.

Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman mingled with Arab stars at the gala screening of Paradise Now on Sunday.

Now in its second year, the festival aims to provide a "cultural bridge" between the West and the Arab world.

"Our role in Arab cinema is to do films that give the West an idea of what we are all about," said Egyptian comedy actor Hany Ramzy.

"It's an extremely important subject for us in the Middle East," he added.


Paradise Now, which has been broadly well-received and won several awards, suggests the random violence of suicide bombings arises from Israeli occupation and not just from Islamic fundamentalism.

Director Hany Abu-Assad said he hoped it would help people understand the environment and motivations which make ordinary people carry out such extreme acts of violence.

Ali Suliman, who stars in the film, said he hoped the film would change attitudes in the US, which many in the Arab world accuse of being biased against the Palestinians.

"That's what we hope for and that's what's happening," he said.

The film has also been accepted as the Palestinian entry for the foreign language category of the Oscars.

The cast of Paradise Now attended the gala screening along with Arab stars Adel Imam and Leila Elwi, actor Freeman and Matrix star Laurence Fishburne.

Controversial film Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, directed by US comedian Albert Brooks, will have its world premiere at the festival on Thursday.

The film, which pokes fun at American ignorance of the Muslim world, is set for release in the US in January.

The making of Paradise Now
18 Nov 05 |  Middle East
Film explores suicide bomb motives
11 Nov 05 |  Middle East

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