A new trio of online store titles is ready to be revealed. Today’s slate consists of Nicholas Ray’s “55 Days in Peking,” Dario Argento’s “Deep Red,” and the first installment in Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise trilogy, “Paradise: Love.”
Austrian by birth, Ulrich Seidl’s initial breakthrough came in 2001 with his film “Dog Days,” which won a Grand Special Jury Prize (aka 2nd place) at the Venice Film Festival and became the first of his films to receive American distribution. After the 2003 documentary “Jesus, You Know” and 2007’s “Import Export” (both of which got U.S. releases), Seidl embarked on his Paradise trilogy.
The Paradise films were initially conceived as a single movie, but after nearly a year of shooting chronologically and following the story where the dailies took him, Seidl found himself with 90 hours of footage. The films are centered on the frustrated desires of three female characters: a Rubenesque middle-aged single mother named Teresa, her sister Anna Maria, and Teresa’s daughter Melanie. In the first installment, “Paradise: Love,” Teresa has decided to take a vacation from her job (where she looks after people with special needs), so she leaves her layabout daughter with her sister and heads to the beaches of Kenya, where European “sugar mamas” partake in the local sex trade industry.
Seidl’s films are unflinching (and definitely not for those who are easily offended), yet they never feel like their intent is to shock or exploit. As the director once said, “I do not judge, but I show how people behave in their longing for happiness.”