MIFF 2012: bask in warm, exploitative gaze of “Paradise: Love”
Paradies: Liebe (Paradise: Love)
Directed by Ulrich Seidl
Written by Ulrich Seidl and Veronika Franz
2012, Austria, Germany, France
Anyone who has had an email account for long enough will attest to the tsunami of lude messages that clog the spam folder until they overflow into the inbox. They advertise magical ways to elongate your cock, bulk up in two fortnights or earn your retirement by sitting at home on your computer pressing a button. Then there are the messages written in endearingly broken English by exotic Eastern Bloc women who claim to have been captivated by a profile that you do not have (unless you’ve opened so many that half have been forgotten) and would like to start a new relationship with a real man. As you peruse these for curiosity’s sake or for a cynical laugh, you wonder who exactly might respond to these in the hope of finding love and companionship. And then you wonder who exactly would send such an email, and – if not merely as a prank – why exactly. On a similar, franker note, there are those websites – camsites – on which unseen individuals with inane aliases ogle and venerate near nude ‘models’ who wink and pout and call everybody ‘babe’. And if the model is a pro they can earn a decent sum by teasing faceless patrons with compliments, nipple slips and illusions of intimacy. The vulnerable patron who finds himself (let’s face it) fooled into believing that a real connection is being made with the fetching Romanian on screen will undoubtedly end up resentful, however much poorer and every bit as lonely and frustrated as was to begin with. And he will feel exploited and will curse the exploiter, who he seems to forget strips nude for and takes degrading orders from unseen individuals with inane aliases.