Paradise | Chicago Reader


106 minutes 1986

This 1986 film by German director Doris Dörrie begins as a light comedy. Viktor, a zoology professor, and his wife Angelika come across her old friend Lotte, who now lives alone in the country and reads novels while acting out the roles of key characters. At first it appears that Viktor and Lotte will have an affair, but Lotte, apparently afraid of her own feelings, flees him. Angelika clings to him ever more ferociously, and he slowly goes mad. The most interesting thing about the film is its uncertain tone: it's a mixture of realism and fantasy, comedy and tragedy, but it doesn't want to tell you how to take it. Dörrie's camera often follows the characters around, mimicking their perspectives as they walk, which gives the film a lively rhythm and makes its story a bit more involving. But the characters' obsessions with one another aren't really explained, nor is Viktor's descent into madness. The whole is more puzzling than satisfying. In German with subtitles.

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