Paradise: Love (5/3, 10:35pm)

“Fassbinder died, so God gave us Ulrich Seidl.” — John Waters

Blurring the lines between reality and fiction in a provocative, supremely rewarding way, Ulrich Seidl’s documentaries and narrative features (which feel one and the same) boast one of the most sharp, easily-identifiable viewpoints in all of cinema. No other films on Earth are quite like Seidl’s richly textured dioramas of desire, despair and bleak humor; it’s no wonder that Werner Herzog has said of Seidl’s work: “Never before in cinema have I been able to look straight into hell.” His most ambitious project to date, the Paradise Trilogy is a transcontinental trio diving into the pains of sexual, religious and youthful disillusion — all shedding light on female protagonists that, in Seidl’s words, are thought to have “low value on the sexual marketplace.” Paradise: Love is an outstanding beginning, following a frumpy middle-aged mom as she vacations across Kenya as an earnest sex-tourist, yearning for an emotional connection that’s eluded her for a lifetime. As she piles up third-world prostitution partners — the dynamics of which she can’t seem to reverse despite her best efforts — the implications of her exploits manifest in gripping, touching and often hilarious displays of vulnerability. Shot in Seidl’s trademark visually symmetrical style, Paradise: Love finds beauty in the repellent, pain in our shared pursuit of satisfaction, and an undeniable heart at the core of humanity.
Dir. Ulrich Seidl, 2013, digital presentation, 120 min.

Watch the trailer for “Paradise: Love”!
YouTube Preview Image