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PARADIES: Hoffnung

“Seidl’s sometimes grueling but consistently compelling PARADISE trilogy concludes on a surprisingly wistful, tender note.” — Leslie Felperin, Variety

Director: Ulrich Seidl
Year: 2013
Running time: 91 mins
Censor Rating: R16 - sexual references

Producer: Ulrich Seidl
Screenplay: Ulrich Seidl, Veronika Franz
Photography: Wolfgang Thaler, Ed Lachman
Editor: Christof Schertenleib
Production designers: Renate Martin, Andreas Donhauser
Costume designer: Tanja Hausner
Sound: Ekkehart Baumung
In German with English subtitles

With: Melanie Lenz (Melanie), Joseph Lorenz (doctor), Verena Lehbauer (Verena), Johanna Schmid (Hanni), Michael Thomas (trainer), Vivian Bartsch (nutritionist)

Festivals: Berlin 2013

While her mother holidays on a Kenyan beach, 13-year-old Melanie is deposited at diet camp, where she and other overweight teens are subjected to a joyless summer regime of exercise and lectures. Seidl watches in sardonic admiration as their dumpy forms defy the aspirations of a blustering drill instructor. Midnight feasts and dorm parties provide ample consolation and camaraderie. When the talk turns to sex, Melanie is encouraged to believe she’s got what it takes to pursue her crush on the camp’s only approachable adult: the playful, oddly boyish doctor, approximately 40 years her senior. Audience expectations are on trial here as much as the doctor’s inscrutable intentions. “There’s a Strange sweetness to PARADISE: Hope… Without pushing any obvious message beyond its unvarnished scrutiny of ordinary lives the film is also a bracing antidote to all the manufactured triumphalism of weight-loss reality shows.” — David Rooney, Hollywood reporter

The PARADISE Trilogy also includes PARADISE Faith and PARADISE Hope.