Ulrich Seidl's Paradise: Love

Controversial Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl is heading to New York for a two-night event at Film Society of Lincoln Center featuring a conversation and sneak preview of his award-winning Paradise Trilogy. The Film Comment Selects presentation, taking place April 26 and 27, will include screenings of Seidl's Paradise: Love (2012), Paradise: Faith (2012) and Paradise: Hope (2013).

The first in the trio, Paradise: Love centers on middle-aged woman, Teresa, who travels to Kenya on a sex-tourism journey. Her trip has one goal: carnal satisfaction. Love's follow-up, Paradise: Faith, meanwhile, follows devout Catholic Anna Maria and her draconian spiritual journey, which is interrupted when her estranged husband arrives. The final installment, Paradise: Hope, turns the lens on Teresa's overweight daughter Melanie. She is sent to a weigh-loss camp while her mother is in Kenya where she bonds with her fellow campers and develops a crush on a middle-aged doctor who works at the facility.

Ulrich Seidl's Paradise: Faith

Film Comment Editor-in-Chief Gavin Smith noted: “This event will be the first time the Paradise trilogy has been presented in its entirety, as well as offering a rare opportunity to encounter a filmmaker whose films often provoke extreme reactions and typically challenge audiences to reconsider their unexamined attitudes and preconceptions about the less attractive or wholesome realities of everyday life.”

Both Paradise: Love, which screened in competition last year in Cannes, and Paradise: Faith, which won a Special Jury Prize in Venice, will screen on Friday, April 26. Paradise: Hope, which had its World Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, will screen Saturday, April 27, followed by a conversation with Ulrich Seidl about the complete trilogy.

The two-day event will also kick off a one-week theatrical run of Paradise: Love in the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. Scroll down for complete film descriptions, schedule, and more info!

Ulrich Seidl's Paradise: Hope

Paradise: Love (2012) 120min
Director: Ulrich Seidl
Country: Austria
Inexperienced middle-aged sex tourist Teresa (Margarethe Tiesel) travels to a luxurious Kenyan holiday resort looking for carnal satisfaction, having deposited her teenage daughter Melanie (Melanie Lenz) with Teresa’s sister Anna Maria (Maria Hofstätter). Mentored by a trio of similarly middle-aged female sex tourism veterans, she embarks on a series of sexual encounters with young and readily available natives, participating in a role-playing game of mutually agreed deception she doesn’t fully grasp. After initial awkwardness gives way to confidence, Teresa gets to see how the other half lives via “escort” Munga (Peter Kazungu), but discovers that her adventure in exotic sexual gratification comes at a price.
Friday, April 26 at 7:00PM
Paradise: Faith (2012) 112min
Director: Ulrich Seidl
Country: Austria
Devout Catholic Anna Maria (Seidl regular Maria Hofstätter) begins each day with a bracing session of self-flagellation as she kneels before a crucifix mounted on her bedroom wall. Taking a staycation from her work as a medical technician, she goes door to door across the city, a 24-inch statue of Mary in her arms, inviting those who open their doors to join her in prayer to the Mother of God. Although she’s received with anything from passive acceptance to violent resistance, she keeps going, undaunted. One day things take an unexpected turn: Anna Maria comes home to discover that her estranged, wheelchair-bound husband has moved back in, and his background puts a whole new spin on her religious devotion—not to mention sending the film into the realm of deadpan domestic comedy as the couple embark on a tit for tat grudge match.
Friday, April 26 at 9:20PM
Paradise: Hope (2013) 91min
Director: Ulrich Seidl
Country: Austria
In this unsentimental and unconventional coming of age narrative, Seidl concludes his trilogy by circling back to the realm of sexuality with the story of Teresa’s overweight 13-year-old daughter Melanie (Melanie Lenz), who has been shipped off to a weight-loss camp in the countryside while her mother vacations in Kenya. Here, practically incarcerated alongside some 20 other teens, Melanie bonds with the other girls in her dorm room and soon develops a desperately romantic and unlikely crush on the facility’s middle-aged doctor (Joseph Lorenz)—who gradually begins to reciprocate.
Saturday, April 27 at 8:30PM
Ulrich Seidl in person for a post-screening conversation about his Paradise trilogy!