Paradise: Love B-
Cannes Film festival (In competition)—Austria’s enfant terrible, Ulrich Seidl (“Dog Days,” Import Export”), continues his explorations of sexual politics, gender tensions, and anomie with “Paradise: Love,” a rigorously conceived, visually impressive feature.
Thematically, “Paradise: Love” resembles French director Laurent Cantet’s more conventionally structured, but also tighter and more enjoyable “Heading South,” also about a group of white women (headed by Charlotte Rampling), competing for the sexual favors of well-endowed native men in Third World countries.
Combining elements of his documentary work with extreme stylization, “Paradise: Love” is an impeccably made film, centering of female sex tourism.
The new feature, the first of a trilogy, is a chronicle of a chubby, unattractive middle-aged, middle-class Austrian woman who participates annually and ritualistically in Kenya’ sex trade.
The protagonist is Teresa (Margarethe Tiesel), a blonde, abrasive, often vulgar nut also charming femme, who set to Africa for some unorthodox sexual (and romantic, if the case allows) adventures. She is hardly alone and soon we meet her comrades and competitors.
As is known, Seidl shoots his movie without a completed script. He develops his narratives and characters through a systematic improvisational process. He has worked with both professional and non-professional actors, and in this film with young Kenyan sex workers playing fictionalized versions of themselves.
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