Film review: Paradise: Love - Ulrich Seidl's unsparing inquiry into sex tourism in Kenya


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The Independent Culture

A middle-aged woman seeks companionship in sunny climes, but Shirley Valentine this isn't.

The first part of a trilogy by Austrian auteur Ulrich Seidl, Love is an unsparing inquiry into sex tourism in Kenya, where it pays to realise that every exchange is an economic one. Teresa (Margarete Tiesel) is a 50-year-old seeking a young black man who will see past her "crow's feet and fat bum" to her yearning soul.

She seems to connect with Munga (Peter Kazungu), until he fleeces her for cash. Seidl's camera-gaze is pitiless, though he locates a wintry humour beneath the palm trees.

What the film so excruciatingly describes is how the transaction between seller and purchaser demeans both parties. It makes for a dispiriting couple of hours.

The other two films in the trilogy are to be "Faith" and "Hope", and I'm sort of dreading them even now.