Paradise Trilogy by Ulrich Seidl Abstract The films of Austrian director Ulrich Seidl are known for their piercing portrayals of the human condition and striking depictions of reality. In his Paradise Trilogy, the director aims to project the multidimensional and complex nature of human emotions, actions and behavior as three women belonging to the same family are subjected to different experiences…
Comparisons between the formal strategies of all the three elements of the Paradise Trilogy are also made. The paper also discusses the political relevance of Seidl’s work in the society of today. Introduction The depictions of human life in Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise Trilogy are certainly not represented in manners that would appeal to a close-minded audience. Therefore, to truly appreciate the essence of Seidl’s filmmaking in the Paradise Trilogy the private lives of the characters should be observed carefully and even their most disturbing secrets accepted. The Paradise Trilogy represents in its three installments the true feelings that humans yearn for and seek in life; love, faith and hope. The achievement for the director however, certainly remains in how the movies are presented in a way that is entirely realistic yet disturbing and provocative. The purpose of this paper is to extensively and comprehensively analyze the formal strategies of the last installment of the Paradise Trilogy, Paradise: Hope. The discussion aims to understand the transition of the formal strategies employed by the director throughout the three movies by examining the similarities and difference that are reflected in the entire trilogy. In conclusion the paper aims to define the art of Ulrich Seidl that is portrayed through the course of Paradise Trilogy’s journey with regards to its political and aesthetic relevance to the society of today. Paradise Trilogy According to Perry the progression of formal strategies in cinema is a reflection of the evolution of filmmaking itself that gradually transitioned from the sketches of mid and late 1800s in favor of tackling more complex storylines and abstract ideas in the early 1900s (25). While, commentators and analysts such as Perry would assert that the progression of formal strategies in filmmaking are representations of a new epoch in the history of cinema it should be noted that the skills of a director such as Seidl who wishes to portray human condition as it really is augments the implementation of formal strategies in films. Even though, the essence and the core of Paradise Trilogy remains inert throughout the three parts the interrelation of the stories has not barred Ulrich Seidl from employing a range of formal strategies in his last installment Paradise: Hope. As with Seidl’s previous work such as the movie titled Import/Export, those who are familiar with his talents would have expected the director to continue the projection of despair and stagnation with regards to the protagonist of the film. As Frey notes that once the director famously wished viewers present at the premier of his movie, Dog Days (2001) “a disturbing evening” (189). What certainly comes as a relief for the audience is that Paradise: Hope’s protagonist Melanie Lenz displays much conviction and integrity throughout the course of the movie which documents her journey at a diet camp and her relationship with a much older doctor, the last installment of the trilogy in fact assists the emergence of an optimistic and hopeful side to Seidl that was indeed unexpected but rewarding. While it is obvious that the films in the trilogy share an important relationship with regards to the involvement of the characters in each installment of Paradise, the protagonist in Seidl’ ...
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