Paradise: Trilogy

First of all I would like to acknowledge Director Ulrich Seidl as an accomplished artist: he has his own personal style; his actors never seem to be acting; he can create long single-take scenes that are truly impressive. Now the "But." ...but I really do not LIKE his pacing, his people, or his plots. Yesterday the screening crowd for the 2013 Seattle International Film Festival viewed this trilogy from Austria/Germany and by the end of the day we were weary and depressed. Does that say anything?

We'll do these one at a time:
  • Paradise: Love is an ultimately repugnant story of a middle-aged Austrian hausfrau who goes to sun-drenched Kenya to purchase sexual favors from Kenyan beach boys, where love is a business. Watching older white women exploit and demean young black men is just as distasteful as watching a similar scene with the genders switched. I'm not exactly sure what this woman is seeking, but I AM sure that she didn't find it. Be prepared for a LOT of nudity, lengthy foreplay, and frank discussion of body parts: the nudes are real people, not the sexual fantasies that usually inhabit the screen. Yuck! (A few 2013 SIFF audience members "appreciated" this one.)
  • Paradise: Faith brings us the woman who cat-sits for the Kenyan vacationer in the first segment ("Love"). Her home is festooned with crucifixes; she is a flagellant, so we watch her whip her bare torso to prove her devotion to Jesus. In addition, she does "laps" in her house on her knees until they bleed. For her vacation, she goes out each day to proselytize for Christ, knocking on doors and suffering various types of rejection. THEN her paraplegic Muslim husband comes back home, ready to reconcile and enjoy their marriage bed; her response isn't very Christian. Be prepared for two very long, very physical, fights.
  • Paradise: Hope has us watch the daughter of the Kenyan vacationer. This 14-year-old girl has been sent to "fat camp" for the summer. Along with detailed discussions of sex from a young teenage girl's perspective, we are dismayed to see her develop a crush on the doctor who works on campus. Granted he is an appealing fellow, tall, lean and turning gray. She is eager to lose her virginity so she can compare notes with her roommates. This doesn't bode well for our young heroine. By the way, there was no noticeable weight loss at that camp. Our girl kept calling her mom in Kenya, hoping SHE was having a good time. We winced.
You may wonder about the rating for these films. I don't see any but it would HAVE to be at least an R because of all the nudity and language.

I'm only attaching a link to the trailer for the first film of this trilogy. It makes the film look far more enjoyable than it really is. Please feel free to draw your own conclusions.
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Link to Paradise: Love
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