73rd Venice International Film Festival
Director: Alberto Barbera
Paradise tells the compelling story of three individuals, Olga, Jules and Helmut, whose paths cross amidst the devastation of war. Olga, a Russian aristocratic immigrant and member of the French Resistance, is arrested by Nazi police for hiding Jewish children during a surprise raid. As her punishment, she is sent to jail where she meets Jules, a French-Nazi collaborator who is assigned to investigate her case. Jules grows fond of Olga and offers to go light on her punishment in exchange for sexual favours. Although Olga agrees, and will do whatever it takes to avoid harsh persecution, her hope for freedom quickly fades when events take an unexpected turn. Shipped to a concentration camp, Olga is forced into a life of hell. To her surprise, she crosses paths with high-ranking German SS officer Helmut, who once fell madly in love with her and still harbours feelings. They re-kindle their old flame and embark on a twisted and destructive relationship. Helmut resolves to rescue Olga and offers her an escape that she no longer thought possible. Yet as time passes, and the fate of Nazi defeat looms, Olga’s notion of Paradise is irrevocably changed.
language: Russian, German, French, Yiddish - s/t English, Italian
Julia Vysotskaya, Christian Clauss, Philippe Duquesne, Victor Sukhorukov, Peter Kurt
History is full of great tragedies, most of which remain in our minds as ancient misdeeds that couldn’t possibly be replicated in the present day. One of the most terrifying moments of our generation’s history was the rise of the Nazi party and the extermination of millions of Jews and others who did not fit into the Nazi ideal of a “perfect” German “paradise.” These atrocities exposed the depths of mankind’s capabilities for evil and although these events happened in the past, the same kind of radical and hateful thinking is apparent today and threatening the lives and safety of many around the world. Paradise reflects on a twentieth century filled with great illusions buried in ruins, the dangers of hateful rhetoric and the need for mankind to use the power of love to triumph over evil.