Paradise: Faith (8/25, 7:30pm)

The filmmaker behind Paradise: Love is back, as he treads the thorniest thematic territory of his career with the second (and most unsettling) film in the Paradise trilogy. Blurring the lines between reality and fiction in a provocative, supremely rewarding way, Ulrich Seidl’s docs and narrative features (which feel one and the same) boast one of the most sharp, easily-identifiable viewpoints in all of cinema. Of these richly textured dioramas of desire, despair and bleak humor; Werner Herzog has said: “Never before in cinema have I been able to look straight into hell.” Seidl’s uncompromising, symmetric eye now turns to Anna Maria, a middle-aged, fiercely religious medical technician whose misplaced obligation to bear the weight of Austria’s wayward spirituality on her shoulders acts as penance for her own lingering guilt. Love’s exotic, sun-drenched horizons are here replaced by cramped suburban quarters, as we witness Anna Maria’s brand of intensely disturbing worship — with liberal doses of observational levity, and the slow-burn revealing of past “crimes” against her faith. Himself raised Catholic, Seidl’s emotionally intense series of tableaux provokes an inquisition: the questioning of individual beliefs, and our greater implication in the fate of those burdened by such a cross. Tumultuous, frightening, frequently hilarious and beautifully illuminating.
Dir. Ulrich Seidl, 2013, DCP, 113 min.

Watch the trailer for “Paradise: Faith”
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