“The trouble with being an oasis is that everybody wants your water — and they all know where you are.”


Looking at the list of Waldemar Januszczak’s documentary films, it occurs to me that I have a whole lotta catching up to do.

In the interim, Paradise Found is compelling. We know very little about Islam and the Islamic world. Shouldn’t we want to know more?


We imagine many things when we think of this word. However, we do not think about Islamic Architecture, which influenced the art of Europe so profoundly. This documentary tours through the Muslim world, in search of that “atmosphere of Paradise,” hidden away in mosques and palaces. In this film renowned art commentator Waldemar Januszczak makes an epic journey of discovery across the Muslim world, revealing awe-inspiring architecture and art objects that evoke the history of Islam. Along the way he meets local historians and experts – as well as an array of weavers, calligraphers, potters, and jewelers – who contribute their knowledge of this fascinating art-historical field. Much of the discoveries includes objects and buildings that have previously received little if any attention on film, like the 10th century Egyptian jug carved out of a single piece of rock crystal – one of only three known in the entire world ; the stunning architecture of the Uzbekistan’s Samarquand ; the incredible and surreal mud mosques of West African Mali ; the inspired urban planning of the ancient city of Isfahan in Iran and the world’s first great and possibly greatest mosque in the Syrian capital Damascus. The result is a stimulating introduction to a set of globally significant aesthetic traditions.

Producer : Mike Lerner Director : James Bluemel

Channel Four Television Corporation (2005)