The final installment in Ulrich Seidl's Paradise trilogy, 'Paradise: Hope' tells the story of overweight thirteen-year-old Melanie and her first love. While her mother travels to Kenya ('...
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The final installment in Ulrich Seidl's Paradise trilogy, 'Paradise: Hope' tells the story of overweight thirteen-year-old Melanie and her first love. While her mother travels to Kenya ('Paradise: Love') and her aunt does missionary work ('Paradise: Faith'), Melanie spends her summer vacation at a strict diet camp for overweight adolescents. Between physical education and nutrition counseling, pillow fights and her first cigarette, Melanie falls in love with the camp director, a doctor forty years her senior. As the doctor struggles with the guilty nature of his desire, Melanie had imagined her paradise differently.Written by
If you're happy and you know it, clap your fat. If you're happy and you know, clap your fat. If you're happy and you know it, and you really want to show it, if you're happy and you know it, clap your fat.
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Ulirch Seidl's 'Paradise' trilogy focuses on female unhappiness: the first two movies were almost unwatchably painful, as they charted their protagonists' unfortunate plights and self-harming behaviour. The third film is not quite so gloomy, although its title 'Hope' is almost certainly meant ironically, but there is hope here, if only because it's younger characters still have the chance to turn around their lives. Equally, the film's purpose seems a little less clear than its predecessors: some overweight, but basically normal teenagers attend a weight-loss camp, where they face a measure of abuse from the adults who run it. The most poignant moment in the film comes when the lead character, the daughter of the protagonist in the first film, desperately calls her mother (who we know to be trapped in her own form of hell), a sign of a human bond that has hitherto not been revealed. Overall, it's still hard to know what to make of the trilogy, except as a series of observations on quite how hard it is to make meaningful connections with those around us.
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