Feature

Paradise: Love

A vacationing divorcée learns how to pay for sex.

Directed by Ulrich Seidl(Not rated)

***

Few movies have been as unflinching as this Austrian import in depicting “the ugly, heartbreaking ways human beings can mutually exploit one another,” said Mike D’Angelo inthe A.V. Club. The story of a middle-aged woman’s venture into sex tourism, it becomes monotonous in its determination to shame its characters, yet Margarete Tiesel’s “shrewd, fearless” lead performance offers a bold study in bone-deep loneliness. Tiesel’s Teresa has escaped Vienna for a beach in Kenya where white women learn to pay discreetly for sexual favors from young black men. Each time clothes are shed, the director’s clear intent is to show these transactions in a harsh light, said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. Unfortunately, “in depicting degradation, he is also enacting it”—making demands of his performers that are “very hard to defend on moral grounds.” To me, his interest in the characters’ sad reality looks more like the deepest empathy, said Michael Atkinson in The Village Voice. As disturbing as it is, Paradise: Love “might be the greatest film ever made about the weird socioeconomics of tourism.”

Recommended

Taliban foreign minister asks to address the United Nations
Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.
seeking legitimacy

Taliban foreign minister asks to address the United Nations

Xi Jinping may have just signaled the end of international coal financing
Xi Jinping.
climate change

Xi Jinping may have just signaled the end of international coal financing

French still unhappy with Biden, but Boris Johnson stays positive
Boris Johnson.
'breath of fresh air'

French still unhappy with Biden, but Boris Johnson stays positive

Biden: U.S. isn't 'seeking a new Cold War'
Joe Biden
'rigid blocks'

Biden: U.S. isn't 'seeking a new Cold War'

Most Popular

Did Theranos Lose Afghanistan?
Elizabeth Holmes and James Mattis.
Samuel Goldman

Did Theranos Lose Afghanistan?

Don't try to predict Manchin's reconciliation vote, says former adviser
Joe Manchin.
an enigma

Don't try to predict Manchin's reconciliation vote, says former adviser

How Newsom ran away with the recall
Gavin Newsom.
Picture of David FarisDavid Faris

How Newsom ran away with the recall