Paradise: Hope | Chicago Reader

Paradise: Hope

88 minutes 2013

The final chapter of Ulrich Seidl's "Paradise" trilogy (2012) is surprisingly gentle; the longtime provocateur continues to poke fun at the Austrian bourgeoisie's obsession with order, but his attitude here is generally affectionate. This takes place at a weight-loss camp for preteens, run by humorless disciplinarians; despite the oppressive climate, the kids have a great time, forming close friendships and innocently discovering sex. The sunlit natural imagery seems to have been inspired by Renoir paintings (particularly a sequence in which the kids go swimming in a lake), and Seidl elicits a remarkable intimacy from his young actors. The main character is the daughter of the heroine in Paradise: Love, and though Seidl elaborates on themes introduced by the earlier film, this works perfectly well on its own. In German with subtitles.

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