A moving love story in a time of hatred: During the civil war in Kosovo, the young Serbian widow Danica falls in love with Ramiz, a Albanian soldier who, wounded in battle, seeks refuge in her home on the Serbian side of the River Ibar.
"Hotte im Paradies" is a German 2-hour television film from almost 15 years ago. It was directed by Dominik Graf and written by Rolf Basedow, a longtime collaborator of Graf. Dominik Graf is considered one of Germany's finest filmmakers right now and that truly baffles me. I have seen several of his works, including "Die geliebten Schwestern" the film that Germany submitted unsuccessfully to the Oscars last year and I must say he is absolutely overrated, at least judging from what I have seen and that is quite a bit.
The only reason I can somewhat mention why one should watch "Hotte im Paradies" is Misel Maticevic's lead performance, apart from the solid use of songs. He is a talented actor and elevates the material a lot here. Noeither the direction nor the script are really memorable. The latter is actually pretty confusing and includes a lot of pointless scenes. This film should have run 100 minutes max in my opinion. The characters other than the main character add little to the story and almost all seem interchangeable, no matter if they are gangsters or whores. Saying a film has no likable characters is not a valid criticism, even if it is true here, but saying these unlikeable characters are not elaborated on convincingly is a very valid criticism.
I am baffled by this film's success with awards bodies as well as with audiences. Looking at the IMDb rating, it is apparently very well liked. And this applies to several other of Graf's works. He is always showy, always tries to be very controversial and does not shy away from graphic violence in order to achieve that. However, most of the time the attempt stays unsuccessful and this is true here as well. It all only feels included for the sake of it and not as reality happening, even if it may be crass reality. The dialogue writing is not good either, sometimes cringeworthy. I do not recommend "Hotte in Paradise". Watch something else instead.
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