Young Algerian journalist Nedjma is investigating Islamic accounts of paradise. She is particularly interested in the descriptions used by Salafi preachers to recruit young Algerian men as jihadists. She and her colleague Mustapha find a number of disturbing, richly embellished video sermons and decide to explore the phenomenon in more detail. Travelling through the country, she has conversations with numerous people including astute intellectuals, naïve young men, enlightened religious scholars and political activists. It becomes clear that globalisation has contributed to what has now become an unbridled market for religion. Paradise has become a desirable commodity, expensively promoted by Wahhabis who are engaged in a struggle to impose theirs as the correct reading of the Koran, namely: sex and drugs are forbidden on earth but in heaven there are women and there is wine. Interweaving dramatised black-and-white scenes with documentary interviews, Merzak Allouache, a French director with an Algerian background, creates a multi-layered analysis of the dangers that emanate from Salafism and Salafi interpretations of the Koran.
France / Algeria 2017
Documentary form135 min · Black/White
Born in Algeria in 1944, he is a director and screenwriter who studied at the Institut National du Cinéma in Algiers and then at L'Institut des hautes études cinématographiques (IDHEC) in Paris. Since his debut film Omar Gatlato he has been directing films in both France and Algeria. His work has screened at numerous international festivals.Filmography (selection)
1976 Omar Gatlato 1978 Moughamarat Batal 1983 L'Homme Qui Regardait les Fenêtres 1986 Un Amour à Paris 1993 Bab El Oued City 1995 Salut Cousin! 2000 L’autre Monde 2003 Chouchou 2005 Bab El Web 2009 Harragas 2010 Tata Bakhta; TV movie 2012 El-Taïb (The Repentant) 2013 Esstouh (The Rooftops) 2015 Madame Courage 2017 Tahqiq Fel Djenna (Investigating Paradise)
Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2017