I’ll finally get to see these films for myself, after writing about them a bit over the last 12 months.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center (NYC) has announced a special Film Comment Selects presentation of controversial Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise Trilogy on Friday and Saturday, April 26 & 27.
The two-night event will include Friday screenings of PARADISE: LOVE (2012) and PARADISE: FAITH (2012), and will conclude with a Saturday screening of PARADISE: HOPE (2013) with Seidl attending and participating in a conversation about the trilogy. The presentation of all three films will kick-off the theatrical run of PARADISE: LOVE at the Film Society.
Film Comment Magazine Editor-in-Chief Gavin Smith said, “This event will be the first time the Paradise Trilogy has been presented in its entirety as well as offering a rare opportunity to encounter a filmmaker whose films often provoke extreme reactions and typically challenge audiences to reconsider their unexamined attitudes and preconceptions about the less attractive or wholesome realities of everyday life.”
In Paradise: Love, Teresa, a middle-aged woman, travels to Kenya on a sex-tourism excursion looking for carnal satisfaction.
Paradise: Faith follows the spiritual journey of devout Catholic Anna Maria when her religious staycation is interrupted by the arrival of her estranged husband.
And the third film in the trilogy, Paradise: Hope, focuses on Teresa’s overweight teenage daughter, Melanie, who is confined in a weight-loss camp while her mother vacations in Kenya. While at the camp, Melanie develops a crush on the facility’s middle-aged doctor. However, if Teresa’s physical experience is one of sexual gratification in Paradise: Love, and Anna Maria’s is one of mortification in Paradise: Faith, Melanie’s experience is one of discipline and regimentation as the camp’s staff put the teens through a relentless regimen of exercise that’s all but authoritarian in character.
Of course, with respect to this blog, I’m most interested in the first film, Paradise: Love.
All screenings will take place in the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam).
Tickets are currently on sale at the Film Society’s box offices; and online at www.FilmLinc.com. Single screening tickets are $13; $9 for students and seniors (62+); and $8 for Film Society members.
Three Film Package: $30 GP/ $24 Student & Senior/ $21.
Trailer for Paradise: Love below, after the screening schedule:
Films, Descriptions & Schedule
PARADISE: LOVE (2012) 120min
Director: Ulrich Seidl
Inexperienced middle-aged sex tourist Teresa (Margarethe Tiesel) travels to a luxurious Kenyan holiday resort looking for carnal satisfaction, having deposited her teenage daughter Melanie (Melanie Lenz) with Teresa’s sister Anna Maria (Maria Hofstätter). Mentored by a trio of similarly middle-aged female sex tourism veterans, she embarks on a series of sexual encounters with young and readily available natives, participating in a role-playing game of mutually agreed deception she doesn’t fully grasp. After initial awkwardness gives way to confidence, Teresa gets to see how the other half lives via “escort” Munga (Peter Kazungu), but discovers that her adventure in exotic sexual gratification comes at a price.
Screens Friday, April 26 at 7:00PM and continues on an indefinite run at Film Society
PARADISE: FAITH (2012) 112min
Director: Ulrich Seidl
Devout Catholic Anna Maria (Seidl regular Maria Hofstätter) begins each day with a bracing session of self-flagellation as she kneels before a crucifix mounted on her bedroom wall. Taking a staycation from her work as a medical technician, she goes door to door across the city, a 24-inch statue of Mary in her arms, inviting those who open their doors to join her in prayer to the Mother of God. Although she’s received with anything from passive acceptance to violent resistance, she keeps going, undaunted. One day things take an unexpected turn: Anna Maria comes home to discover that her estranged, wheelchair-bound husband has moved back in, and his background puts a whole new spin on her religious devotion—not to mention sending the film into the realm of deadpan domestic comedy as the couple embark on a tit for tat grudge match.
Screens Friday, April 26 at 9:20PM
PARADISE: HOPE (2013) 91min
Director: Ulrich Seidl
In this unsentimental and unconventional coming of age narrative, Seidl concludes his trilogy by circling back to the realm of sexuality with the story of Teresa’s overweight 13-year-old daughter Melanie (Melanie Lenz), who has been shipped off to a weight-loss camp in the countryside while her mother vacations in Kenya. Here, practically incarcerated alongside some 20 other teens, Melanie bonds with the other girls in her dorm room and soon develops a desperately romantic and unlikely crush on the facility’s middle-aged doctor (Joseph Lorenz)—who gradually begins to reciprocate.
Screens Saturday, April 27 at 8:30PM
Ulrich Seidl in person for a post-screening conversation about his Paradise trilogy.
Here’s the brand new release trailer (with English subtitles) for Paradise: Love, which Strand will open on April 26: