Paradise: Faith - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Paradise: Faith Reviews

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½ April 1, 2018
What starts as the observation of a slightly eccentric and solitary evangelist slowly becomes the tragedy of two lives locked in mutual incomprehension with hints of an unresolved trauma. Technically brilliant, you have to really want to enter like a voyeur into this world to be able to sit through it all.
December 27, 2016
I still don't understand why Anna Maria hadn't stopped Nabil earlier in the first place.
½ December 25, 2015
Good film about a god botherer who seems to have no room for anything other than her religion in her life. The film is about what happens when you go through life with religious blinkers on rather than noticing reality.
½ December 12, 2015
Powerful with its depiction of religious conviction, but also tragic at the same time.
May 22, 2015
Not his best film but has interesting moments...
½ May 13, 2015
''Paradise: Faith'' takes it's theme with bravery and bravura, while presenting strong performances from it's two leads and visual sparkling, although it can be quite tedious for some viewers.
May 12, 2015
In short: Thought provoking film about our own halfway lost religious beliefs, packaged in a compelling performance by the main characters who we can follow very close-by

I saw this film as part of the Rotterdam film festival 2013. After having seen Paradise: Love in the Ghent film festival 2012, I was of course prepared for having to watch not-so-easy digestible scenes. In other words, some scenes you wished you were somewhere else, but still you feel the need to observe what's going on because you won't miss a tiny thread of what the film makers want to get across. Maybe I was prepared too much, surprisingly finding myself less bothered in my spectator role than with predecessor Paradise: Love. Especially the masturbation scene with a crucifix for which we were warned by several professional reviewers, progressed nicely under the blankets and proved suggestive rather than shown in the flesh.

More problematic for me to watch were her house calls while attempting to convert people to the catholic faith, or at least to interest them for Saint Mary. She carries a nearly life-size statue of Saint Mary along during her missionary journey. Cold calling as she practices is unsympathetic by definition. It may come to no surprise that she meets resistance with most of the people, particularly in the poor neighborhoods with many immigrants she has chosen as her target. But it perfectly fits in her belief that all of Austria should become catholic, as propagated by a small ultra-religious group that counts her as a devoted member. We see a few scenes with group meetings, but these insights were kept relatively short, confined to relevant background information, no more no less.

The film starts on the last working day before her holiday. We see her making preparations for the self-assigned task of spreading her belief. This is apparently her main occupation during her holidays, being happy that she now has all day for making house calls. Not an encouraging journey, however. She has to cope with indifference at best, more often than not with skepticism and hostility, and meets loaded questions to challenge the position she advocates when visiting people (for instance) living together out of wedlock. It is not always easy to explain the rules imposed by the catholic church, and one can always ask who has the right to determine what entails a mortal sin. Yet she seems unshakable in her belief. As a bonus we see vivid discussions from time to time, on average not with either side being really right or wrong.

The story gets more and more interesting when her husband decides that it is time to reunite. Though it is not made very explicit, I assume they never formally divorced. They apparently lived apart a number of years for reasons not revealed to us. The husband is a follower of Allah, a fact that raises questions how these two got married in the first place. The husband is crippled, and totally dependent on a wheelchair. Of course, her belief considers his health situation as a sort of punishment, better said a divine retribution with a specific purpose. Her first action after his homecoming is to arrange a separate sleeping place for him, in spite of his stance that sleeping together is a matter of course when people are married. Their mutual relationship deteriorates further as the story progresses. Differences in beliefs are a core element in their disputes, in combination with her firm position to avoid all forms of sex and intimacy with her husband.

These two story lines intertwine throughout the film, both with headstrong beliefs about right and wrong as fundamental driving forces. Difficult moments for us, viewers, are for example repeated self-flagellation scenes, when she considers herself to have underperformed in her missionary activities, or when she suspects any mark of infamy however small in our eyes. All of this fully justifies the title of this film. Though religion was lost on me many years ago, even I have to admit that the situation becomes more and more interesting alongside subsequent developments.

All in all, a compelling performance of the main characters, especially Anna Maria who we are allowed to follow from close-by. The extent of religious belief we see is very extreme. We may recognize it from books and movies, mostly set in times long past or in areas far away. Such a strong and persistent devotion is rarely seen in western countries, but I can very well imagine that more or less underground movements like this exist even here. Fanatics are not time bound, and exist within many religions. We read and hear about it at present, leading to breakups between people, or at worst even physical abuse and destructive activities. This movie lets us re-consider our own position in this, letting us think why we have dropped the religious education we previously received. Yet I have no answer to those questions. The only constructive thing I could do was giving a maximum score for the audience award when leaving the theater. Not everyone seems to agree, since it ranked far below the top: 42th (out of 176) with score 4.016 (out of 5) from 703 votes.
½ February 10, 2015
I thought I had literally seen it all until this movie and the one before it in this intense and deep trilogy tackling taboos some would not even see coming.
January 19, 2015
Taking fandom to a whole new level.
December 27, 2014
This movie is powerful. It really gets at how damaging religion can be. Some of the scenes are disturbing because they are so real.
October 28, 2014
Hofsttater is superb as Maria - a devout Catholic keen to spread her beliefs to those she believes need it whilst also punishing herself both physically and mentally. Siedel allows each scene to play out with minimum camera movement and often in full which accentuates the effect of some of the more powerful and unexpected scenes as it becomes a mesmerising and effective way to deal with the subject matter. Often not easy to watch and sometimes shocking, this is an excellent second film in the trilogy.
September 7, 2014
part 2 of the trilogy of paradise i have just seen this movie 4 the 1st time n think that this is a good movie 2 watch, its got a good cast of actors/actressess throughout this movie....i think that Dieter Masur, Rene Rupnik, Natalya Baranova, Nabil Saleh, Maria Hofstätter, play good roles/parts throughout this movie......i think that the director of this drama movie had done a great job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throughout this this is such a really really powerful drama movie 2 watch, it is such a really really powerful drama movie 2 watch, its got a great cast throughout this movie......

The film has been named as a favourite of director John Waters, who presented the film as his annual pick within the Maryland Film Festival 2013

Austrian drama film directed by Ulrich Seidl, the second in his Paradise trilogy. The film was nominated for the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice International Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize. It won the award for best sound design at the 26th European Film Awards.

man this is such a really really powerful drama movie 2 watch, its got a great cast throughout this is such a touching, moving movie 2 watch, i think that this is such a really well written/acted/directed movie 2 watch, its got a great cast throughout this movie......i think that this is such a powerful drama movie 2 watch, it is a really really sad movie 2 watch, man this is such a powerful drama movie 2 watch, its got a great cast throughout this movie.....its got a good soundtrack throughout this movie.....i think that this is such a fantastic drama movie 2 watch, it is such a powerful drama movie 2 watch, it is such a really really sad movie 2 watch, its got a great cast throughout this movie..i think that this is such a really really powerful drama movie 2 is so powerful drama movie 2 watch, with a great cast throughout this is such a powerful drama movie 2 watch, but it is such a powerful drama movie 2 watch with a good cast throughout this movie......
August 4, 2014
Not quite up there with the first installment of the trilogy for me due to its repetitive nature and not-terribly interesting characters. The story doesn't lead anywhere but I did enjoy the Wicker Man-ish, nocturnal, al-fresco orgy.
March 25, 2014
The second film of Seidl's Paradise trilogy, further confrontational amusement with a quite painful central performance.
February 19, 2014
Best of the trilogy. Not only Maria Hofstätter gave a superb performance, but also the controversial story is well written.
½ December 16, 2013
Måske den dårligste Seidl film. Men filmoptagelserne er fabelagtige
½ November 20, 2013
Ulrich Seidl and his films tend to be stories around pathetic, stupid, obsessed and/or weird people.
This is another one to the list and follows the first part of the "Paradise"-trilogy.

It's much like the first film actually, it's just a very different setting here. It tend to go into the dark humor category, as many other Seidl flicks, but it's only for very short periods, this is actually really, really sad stuff. Real, provoking, raw, direct and quite graphic film about religion and beliefs. The performances are good and it wakes something in me. Few characters, the typical static filming where characters seldom are moving around much. I like this feature, it's powerful, but also quite tiring. I'm glad we get some amazing weather shots near the ending though.

The film will leave an impression. It will stay with you, but the most memorable scenes are also hard to digest, and there is quite a lot of them. The film gets more and more interesting, but it's still flat and very slow paced - this is not entertaining.

It need to sink in for a long time, but right there in the seat, watching it, it feels like a unpleasant movie experience. You know, everything is in perfectly normal Seidl-style, huh? It works, I love many of his films for this.

I can't give it a great score, but there is something special about this film makers ability to look forward for his next release. This time it will complete a trilogy as well.

6,5 out of 10 crucifixes.
½ November 3, 2013
The main character is a bit of a hypocrite. She tries to "save" people and expresses shock at others' sins, while ignoring or disdaining her husband and performing shocking acts of cruelty herself. But so what? While not very thought-provoking, I have to give it some points for having carefully, beautifully composed shots.
October 19, 2013
These euro starkly real fly on the wall minimalist dialogue films can be challenging but rewarding (see the Dardenne brothers back catalogue) however this is just, sorry to say, really really boring. It almost seems like an act of torture by director Ulrich Seidl to stretch this to nearly 2 hours. Part of a Trilogy, avoid all.
½ August 25, 2013
Expecting bold and inventive, received warmed over and dull. A great premise with underwhelming execution. That said, I look forward to seeing the rest of his trilogy, "Love" & "Hope"
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