PARADISE Hope (image 1)

Seidl’s sometimes grueling but consistently compelling PARADISE trilogy concludes on a surprisingly wistful, tender note.

Leslie Felperin, Variety

Screened as part of NZIFF 2013

PARADISE Hope 2013

PARADIES: Hoffnung

Directed by Ulrich Seidl

A sardonically observed but compassionate tale of a 13-year-old girl’s diet camp crush on a much older doctor. “A bracing antidote to all the manufactured triumphalism of weight-loss reality shows.” — Hollywood Reporter

Austria / France / Germany In German with English subtitles
91 minutes DCP

Director, Producer


Ulrich Seidl
Veronika Franz


Wolfgang Thaler
Ed Lachman


Christof Schertenleib

Production designers

Renate Martin
Andreas Donhauser

Costume designer

Tanja Hausner


Ekkehart Baumung


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


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