Sex tourism as a new colonialism
Ulrich Seidl is an author whose films divide the audience. There are those who do not want to see the reality, and this film shows precisely that
Film PARADISE: LOVE of Austrian director Ulrich Seidl deals with the issue of sex tourism, the one that is practiced in the resorts of Kenya by middle-aged woman from the West. However, the main protagonist in the film, Teresa, played by Margarethe Tiesel our interviewee, does not seek only physical pleasure on the "paradise" beach, but also "love" in which, as the film progresses – she does not succeed.The film basically shows the "colonial" attitude of the West toward the Third World countries, which today exist in more sophisticated forms, such as sex tourism. However, in PARADISE, there are other layers of the story...
The film also speaks about the loneliness of middle aged women who are no longer desirable, about their longing for love. For me as an actress, it was most important to show this aspect of the film. And when a woman like that goes to Africa, she becomes desirable. She becomes a "sugar mama" around who a dozen "beach boys" tend to gather (gigolo guys on the beach). Gigolo guys want to present themselves in the best light and to sell themselves. Most of them have wives and children at home, and prostitution is their way to earn money to survive. However, in the case of men, prostitution is seen differently than in the case of women, they seem somewhat proud. On the other hand, women who engage in sex tourism want more of that relationship, they want love, I heard many such stories.
Seidl is known for his documentary background, so amateurs who work as prostitutes in real life play themselves in PARADISE. Also, you were requested to participate in several erotic scenes. Tell us more about the experiences from the shooting, working with Seidl ...
Seidl is a specific director and I haven’t had similar experience of cooperation until now. Film PARADISE: LOVE, didn’t have a scenario, in the classical sense, the process of shooting was determining in which direction the story would go. As an actress, I was able to influence the story. I must add that Seidl was fair, he didn’t force me to do something I didn’t want. Gigolo guys in the film are interpreted by people who do that in their private lives. They are amateurs who had never acted before and that required further attention, but I think they did a good job. Ulrich Seidl is an author whose films divide the audience. There are those who do not want to see the reality, and this film shows precisely that. Seidl’s stories are always true.
PARADISE: LOVE is the first sequence of a trilogy that follows lives of three women from the same family. In which phase are the other two sequences?
All three parts are recorded. Seidl planned to make a film about three women - my character, her daughter and sister. After the shooting he had 83 hours of material (first cut). Then it was decided to make three films out of it. All three female characters are seeking love. In the first part PARADISE: LOVE I do that in Africa, my daughter falls in love with an older man at a weight loss camp, that part is called PARADISE: HOPE. In the third sequence called PARADISE: FAITH my sister is engaged in missionary and she is, so to speak, "in love" with Jesus.