Investigating Paradise

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France | 2016 | 135 minutes | Merzak Allouache

Interweaving documentary interviews with a dramatized black-and-white road trip, a pair of journalists travels throughout Algeria asking their fellow citizens about the meaning of paradise and the Salafist propaganda that promises men 72 virgins after death.

"Absorbing, first-hand reporting."Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

  • Purchased Tickets
  • Limited Availability
  • On Standby
  • Matinee

SIFF Cinema Uptown

6:00 PM Date has passed LLimited Availability Producer/Screenwriter Bahia Allouache scheduled to attend

Thursday, May 25, 2017

  • Purchased Tickets
  • Limited Availability
  • On Standby
  • Matinee

SIFF Cinema Uptown

3:00 PM Date has passed Producer/Screenwriter Bahia Allouache scheduled to attend

From leading Algerian director Merzak Allouache (The Repentant, The Rooftops) comes this documentary in a narrative frame. Investigating Paradise recounts what happens when Nedjma, an Algerian journalist, sets out to explore how her fellow citizens envision the afterlife. Of particular interest to her, and to the film, is a particular strain of Salafist propaganda, used to recruit young men to jihad, which promises that martyrs for Islam will each be received in paradise by 72 beautiful virgins. Her concerns range from the theological (there's no mention of the 72 virgins in the Koran? What awaits women in paradise?) to the logistical (aren't 72 of anything kind of a lot?) She and her colleague Mustafa embark on a road trip that takes them across the country from the capital city to the rural south, meeting with intellectuals, artists, boys on the street, religious figures, and political activists. Thoroughly engaging and intellectually rigorous, their wide-ranging conversations raise a variety of issues: how canny political actors use religion for their own ends; how religion promises future compensation for current deprivation; and how different ideas of what happens after death inform the way that people live their lives, for better and for worse.

Director Biography

Algerian filmmaker Merzak Allouache has been writing and directing films since 1977, when he premiered Omar Gatlato. Some of his more prominent include Chouchou (2003) and The Rooftops (2013). Investigating Paradise is his first documentary since 1995.

Sponsored by KING 5

  • Original Language Title: Tahqiq fel djenna
  • Director: Merzak Allouache
  • Principal Cast: Salima Abada, Younès Sabeur Chérif
  • Premiere Status: North America
  • Country: France, Algeria
  • Year: 2016
  • Running Time: 135 minutes
  • Producer: Bahia Allouache, Merzak Allouache
  • Screenplay: Merzak Allouache, Bahia Allouache
  • Cinematographers: Hocine Hadj Ali
  • Editors: Bahia Allouache
  • Music: Yahia Bouchaala
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: The Rooftops (2013); Chouchou (2003); Hi Cousin! (1996)
  • Language: Arabic, French
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Les Asphofilms