Country: Austria / others
Movie Review: Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise Trilogy comes to an end in great style with “Paradise: Hope”, the most interesting and balanced film of the trio. It starts with a gymnastics teacher preaching discipline to the teenager newcomers of a diet camp, a place to learn how to eat healthily and do appropriate exercise. Our eyes then turned to Melanie, a girl who gained a crush on the camp’s doctor after her first medical examination. All tension comes from this relationship, carrying a strong sexual component at first, but changing tone for the last half-hour. Will the doctor follow his voluptuousness in some circumstance? Melanie’s psychological background is shown through conversations with her dorm mates about their parents’ absence and sexual experiences. It was interesting to find that despite being at a very strict place in terms of rules, the girls easily fell into improper conduct, which includes alcohol, cigarettes, and striptease games. Visually, “Hope” is presented in the same line of the two previous parts, “Love” and “Faith”, adopting the same cleanliness, tidiness, and pale colors in the well-composed images. The major difference was in terms of plot, which was more consistent, and less shocking or forced. A connection with the first part of the trilogy is established when Melanie tries to reach her mother on the phone; as you may remember, she was looking for love and sex in Kenya. As usual, Seidl takes a cold look into a degrading society whose values and moral are called into question.