Paradise: Hope Review

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When 13 year-old Melanie (Lenz) is sent to a draconian camp in the Austrian countryside, she falls in with a group of trouble-making girls and then under the spell of 50-something doctor Artz (Lorenz).


"If you're happy and you know it clap your fat...” Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise trilogy concludes with the story of Melanie (the daughter of Part One’s sex-tourist mother), detained at a dictatorial diet camp in the Austrian forest. The stiff regime instills rebellion and, nursing a crush on a predatory doctor, her attention switches from losing weight to losing her virginity. Seidl’s static compositions still invite a voyeuristic gaze, but what emerges is a tale of surprising warmth, chiefly thanks to Melanie Lenz’s performance, a ’tweeny muddle of hormonal angst. Lightened with flashes of absurdist humour, it’s a tremendous end to a wonderful trilogy.

Tying up his trilogy in style, Seidl's film unsettles and provokes with wit and composure.