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Ulrich Seidl's PARADISE: Hope opens this year's Diagonale Film Festival

Following its premiere at the Berlinale competition, it is Ulrich Seidl’s PARADISE: Hope that will kick off this year’s Diagonale festival. Seidl does not only stand as one of the most prominent figures in Austrian filmmaking, but it is his discerning eye for the marginal elements of our society and his willful and unique cinematic language that make him one of the most important voices of the contemporary international film scene. PARADISE: Hope is the last installment of the already celebrated PARADISE trilogy. The film tells of 13-year-old Melanie, who, while her mother is off on a sex tourism escapade in Kenya (PARADISE: Love) and her aunt goes proselytizing from door to door armed with a statue of the Virgin Mary, is left to spend her holidays in a strict diet camp. Between the physical education classes, the nutritional counseling, the pillow fights and first cigarettes, she falls in love with the camp’s head doctor. The teenager goes to great lengths to seduce the doctor who is 40 years her senior. With an unadorned realism that is characteristic of his work, Ulrich Seidl offers a portrayal of unrequited teenage longing and the moral predicament of an idolized man. The two lead actors, Melanie Lenz and Joseph Lorenz, as well director Ulrich Seidl and countless film crew members, are expected to appear at the Austrian premiere at the Helmut-List-Halle in Graz. The festival’s opening will also feature Maria Hofstätter, who for years has played a pivotal role in Seidl’s work and starred in his film, PARADISE: Faith. She will be honored with the Grand Diagonale Actor’s Achievement Award for her contributions to Austrian cinematic culture. Not to be missed is the exclusive screening of all three successive films of the PARADISE Trilogy on March 15th at the Diagonale festival, which is the first of its kind in Austria. Following the screening, audience members will be treated to an in-depth public discussion with director Ulrich Seidl. Watch Trailer.

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