Paradise: Love Reviews
I saw this film at the Ghent filmfestival 2012. We were told that it was the first of three related films, the two successors to be named 'Paradise: Faith' (already released), and 'Paradise: Hope' (to be released in 2013). Quote from festival announcement: "On Kenya's beaches they are known as 'sugar mamas': European women who seek out African boys selling love to earn a living. Teresa, a 50-year-old Austrian woman, travels to this vacation paradise. 'Paradise: Love' tells of older women and young men, of Europe and Africa, and of the exploited, who end up exploiting others."
The festival screening took place in a fully booked venue (225 seats). More than half (very unusual) of the people stayed for the final Q&A with the principal actor (Margarete Tiesel), and there were (also unusual) many relevant questions. She admitted upfront that she had not read the script prior to shooting (though she did after wards). She is a professional actor, but the African boys are all amateurs.
What struck me the most when watching this film, is that the "boys" never ask money for their "services" in a direct way. Rather they always seem to have a family member in financial difficulties, badly in need of financial support, medical bills being the most common story. We see that happen on Terese's first trip outside the hotel, where her "boy" takes her to his sister (not really, as we see later on), and subsequently a school teacher. Each one has a sad story and needs money. And when she does not cough up enough money, the boy refuses to be touched anymore. On her second trip Teresa seems very aware of all this, recognizing it as standard operating procedure. She starts playing along without feeling awkward about it, and gradually appears to have found her way in this "game".
In the final Q&A the subject "exploitation" came about several times, apparently without easy answers. It is not exploitation per se, when both sides look happy with the arrangement. She talked with several other women there with ample experience in the matter. Some bought for instance a motor bike for her African "lover", or even a house, and travel a few times per year to the area. The "boys" speak one of the usual European languages (English, German, etc); which one is dependent on the area. Yet, while the story progresses, we nevertheless observe a certain language barrier, several times causing misunderstandings about mutual intentions.
All in all, this is a remarkable feature film bordering on a documentary about sex tourism. We have heard about sex tourism in Thailand, particularly for men. This time it is about women with money to spend. The film clearly demonstrates to us how it works. What the films shows is very explicit, even to the extent that we see Teresa explaining to the "boy" how she prefers to be touched, and we closely observe him learning which way works best for her. This scene marks the duality of their respective roles, not parasitic but rather symbiotic. Showing all this in a natural way, without too much embarrassment for us viewers, is an achievement in itself. I scored a 5 (out of 5) for the audience award when leaving the theater.
It tells the story of a 50-year-old white woman who travels to Kenya as a sex tourist. The project is an Austrian production with co-producers in Germany and France. It is the first installment in Seidl's Paradise trilogy, a project first conceived as one film with three parallel stories.
Paradise: Love competed at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. It subsequently screened within such festivals as Toronto International Film Festival, Maryland Film Festival and New Zealand International Film Festival.
Allan Hunter of Screen International wrote: "Love adheres to [Seidl's] methods of working without a traditional script and developing individual scenes from detailed planning and the interaction of professional and non-professional actors. In Love, that results in memorable, highly convincing naturalistic moments as Teresa discusses her desires and vulnerability with a giggly fellow sex tourist or bitterly confronts the reality of a country where love is a transaction rather than a genuine response of the heart. It also creates a rambling, overlong film that just doesn't grip sufficiently to overcome the predictability of the story."Leslie Felperin wrote in Variety: "Ulrich Seidl's Paradise: Love is hardly the first film to explore the world of wealthy women and the young studs who service them; it's not even the first to do it in a sex-tourism context, having been beaten to the punch by 2006's Heading South. But it sure as hell is the dirtiest. ... Repulsive and sublimely beautiful, arguably celebratory and damning of its characters, it's hideous and masterful all at once, Salo with sunburn." Also Screen International and The Hollywood Reporter compared the film to Heading South in their reviews
YOU HAVE GOT TO WATCH THE END OF THE CREDITS THROUGHOUT THIS MOVIE AS SOMETHING HAPPENS AT THE END OF THE CREDITS THROUGHOUT THIS MOVIE.....man i found this such a really sad movie 2 watch, but at the same time this movie is just so funny, it is such a powerful drama movie 2 watch, it is such a really well written/acted/directed movie 2 watch.....its got a great cast throughout this movie, man this is such a sad movie 2 watch......it is such a sad movie 2 watch but it is such a good movie 2 watch.....
Paradise: Love premiered on 18 May 2012 in competition at the 65th Cannes Film Festival. The trilogy's other installments, Paradise: Faith and Paradise: Hope, are planned to appear at forthcoming film festivals
Editing of the whole project took one year and a half. Seidl went through many rough cuts of which he thought several were good films, but realised that no matter what, it was going to end up five and a half hours long. He also thought the three different stories weakened each other, instead of making each other more interesting. The decision was then taken to split the project into three separate films, and release them as a trilogy.
its got a good soundtrack throughout this movie....but man this is such a really funny/sad movie 2 watch its got a great cast throughout this movie. but it is such an enjoyable movie 2 watch with a good cast throughout this movie......