In “PARADISE: Faith”, Ulrich Seidl explores what it means to bear the cross. For Anna Maria, an X-ray technician, paradise lies with Jesus. She devotes her vacation to missionary work, so that Austria may be brought back to the path of virtue. On her daily pilgrimage through Vienna, she goes from door to door, carrying a foot-high statue of the Virgin Mary.
One day, after years of absence, her husband, an Egyptian Muslim confined to a wheelchair, comes home. Hymns and prayers are now joined by fighting. “PARADISE: Faith” recounts the stations of the cross of a marriage and the longing for love. “PARADISE: Faith” is the second film in Ulrich Seidl’s PARADISE Trilogy. “PARADISE: Love,” the first part, is about Anna Maria’s sister Teresa, for whom paradise is to be found in more earthly love in Kneya.
Ulrich Seidl was born in Vienna in 1952 and grew up in the town of Horn in Lower Austria. He studied journalism, art history and drama in Vienna, supporting himself with odd jobs, before entering the prestigious Vienna Film Academy at the age of 26. In 1980 he made his first documentary, Einsvierzig. Following the controversy surrounding his second film, Der Ball (1982) – a wickedly satirical portrait of the graduation ball in his home town – Seidl was asked to leave the Film Academy. In 1990 he returned to the scene with the feature-length documentary Good News. Within the decade Seidl was to make seven more documentaries for cinema and television, winning much acclaim and many prizes for his work.
Hundstage – Dog Days, his first fiction film, was released in 2001 and won several important awards, beginning with the grand jury prize at the Venice Film Festival in 2001. The same year also saw the release of Zur Lage / State of… read more
stronger, more concise than PARADIES: LOVE. Faith simulated as clash of materials and actions. Still struggling with the unleashed camera towards the end.
it stays within a much smaller fiel of diversity, almost glued to the main character and her husband, and it explores faith as a process, as series of material rituals, the materials being either objects or the human body. which i find more concise than in PARADISE: LOVE, where the main character gets a diversity of stages and bounds to others, in order to describe love. I see it as a process film, with a simple statement he consequently keeps exploring/demonstrating.
The via crucis of existence is a heavy cross to bear, especially if the blank theater of religious ethics turns out being a fever, a demented idea of the holy writ. The discomfort flashing from the movie is originally created in our subconscious and later transferred in Anna, allowing the typical distortion that prevents the subject from taking the responsibilities of his millenary intellectual heritage.