A scene from Ulrich Seidl's Paradise: Love

Gotham Award-winner and 2012 Sundance and New Directors/New Films favorite An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty starts its theatrical run at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center this weekend. Austrian director Ulrich Seidl's Paradise Trilogy will be the subject of a weekend series, with the first in the trio, Paradise: Love also playing a theatrical run at the Film Center. And this weekend's Family Film is the Audrey Hepburn/Gregory Peck 1953 classic Roman Holiday.

An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (Opens Friday!)
Writer/Director: Terence Nance
Cast: Alisa Becher, JC Cain, Dexter Jones, Namik Minter, Terence Nance

The Sundance 2013 feature, which combines animation, documentary and narrative, centers on a quixotic artist who hypothesizes about why he feels bad when a mystery girl stands him up. The stand-up, in turn, makes him ponder the content of a momentary feeling. Is it the sum of one's experiences? And are the experiences the sum of you?

Diane Archer gave this assessment in Film Comment: “Oversimplification is both unprecedented and familiar, with antecedents in both mainstream and art cinema. It recalls inventive, formally ingenious films with hapless, self-involved but charming actor-directors like Annie Hall, while its questions about fact versus fiction recall another, just as elaborately titled meta-work, William Greaves’s 1968 Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One. But for me, it chiefly brings to mind Barry Jenkins’s 2008 Medicine for Melancholy, which couldn’t be further from Nance’s film in execution—minimalist and visually desaturated, its linear narrative focuses on two characters and takes place over the course of one night.”

Paradise: Love (Opens Friday!)
Writer/Director: Ulrich Seidl
Co-writer: Veronika Franz
Cast: Margarete Tiesel, Peter Kazungu, Inge Maux, Dunja Sowinetz, Helen Brugat, Gabriel Mwarua

Paradise: Love opens at the Film Center for a week-long run and also screens as part of Film Comment Selects: Ulrich Seidl's Paradise Trilogy.

On the beaches of Kenya, they're known as “Sugar Mamas.” European women who travel to Africa, seeking out African boys selling love to earn a living. Teresa, a 50 year-old Austrian mother of a daughter entering puberty, ventures to this vacation hotspot. Once there, she goes from one beach to the next and one disappointment to the next until she realizes the truth of the situation. On the beaches of Kenya, love is a business.

Time Out gave its take on the film, comparing it to Shirley Valentine (1989) and Heading South (2006) starring Charlotte Rampling. But this film about middle-aged women seeking out affection and sex is a bit more raw: “Paradise: Love amounts to a witty if psychologically pitiless test of our unspoken presumptions about age, race, class and gender, lingering on the kind of physiques and interactions that Hollywood has long taught us are not fit for general consumption, and calmly inviting us to ask ourselves why we want to look away from the screen when we do.”

Paradise: Hope (Saturday in Film Comment Selects)
Writer/Director: Ulrich Seidl
Co-writer: Veronika Franz
Cast: Melanie Lenz, Verena Lehbauer, Joseph Lorenz, Michael Thomas, Viviane Bartsch

Paradise: Hope screens Saturday night, finishing up Film Comment's sneak preview of the full trilogy and followed by a rare conversation with controversial Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl.

Her mother is off to Kenya in search of gratification and her fervently Catholic aunt is engaged in evangelism. Now, 13 year-old Melanie is spending the holidays at a diet camp in the Austrian mountains. Activities include physical training and nutritional counseling, while side activities include pillow fights and a secret stash of booze and visits to the local disco. While at camp, she falls in love with the facility's doctor and camp director, who is 40 years her senior. And she uses her seductive wiles to seduce him.

The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a solid look out of this year's Berlin International Film Festival, where it premiered: “While Hope is made with Seidl’s signature austere aesthetic—short, tableau-like scenes containing little if any camera movement, blunt edits, no nondiegetic music—there’s uncustomary warmth here and a sensitivity to the characters’ vulnerabilities that often is missing from this director’s work.”

Roman Holiday (Saturday and Sunday in Family Films)
Director: William Wyler
Writers: Ian McLellan Hunter, John Dighton, Dalton Trumbo
Cast: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert, Hartley Power, Harcourt Williams

Movie icon Audrey Hepburn is being celebrated in April's Family Films series, including her starring role in William Wyler's classic Roman Holiday this weekend.

In the 1953 classic, Hepburn plays a runaway princess who is befriended by a reporter (Gregory Peck) who hopes to get a scoop on her adventure story. But he, naturally, falls in love. At 24, Hepburn won an Academy Award in the role of the wayward Princess Anne.