Film on older female tourists and beach boys wins award
Posted Thursday, August 2 2012 at 16:53
Original title: Paradies: Liebe
The film was shot in Kenya and Austria between October 22, 2009 and September 13, 2010 with a budget of 3.6 million Euros (Sh370.8million)
It was nominated for the Palme d’Or (The Golden Palm) Award, the highest prize at the Cannes Film Festival, in May this year.
The film will be released to theatres worldwide on August 16, 2012.
The other films in the trilogy, Paradise (faith) and (hope) will be released later in the year.
When Austrian film director, Ulrich Seidl, started researching a story on Western tourists in Africa, the theme of sex tourism came up repeatedly.
So, together with his wife, the filmmaker developed that into a story of a family who seek to find sexual fulfilment with African men.
The original plan was to make a film with three episodes, each about a different woman looking for love in different ways.
Instead, after a year and a half in the editing room, the director ended up with three separate films.
The first in the trilogy, “Paradise: Love” premiered at the 65th edition of the Cannes Festival in May this year.
The movie was also nominated for the top prize at the prestigious festival in France, and generally earned positive critical acclaim, even though some people who have seen it have been left feeling a little coy by its explicit nature.
Seidl, who has earned a reputation for his improvisatory techniques, only instilled in the cast an idea of the film that he wanted.
The individual scenes are described precisely but the separate threads are recounted as you would in a short story.
“My working method is that instead of simply following the approved script, I shoot chronologically and make sure the process remains open to new directions and ideas,” says the 59-year-old.
What you get is a movie that deals with the thriving sex tourism and racial prejudices as illustrated by the relationship between middle-aged foreign women and young men, known as beach boys, who prey on these foreign women for financial gain in return for their romantic liaisons.
The protagonist, Teresa (Margarethe Tiesel), a 50-year-old Austrian woman travels to Kenya in search of love. The woman, who with her bulging waistline doesn’t quite fit your typical beauty ideals, goes from one beach to the next without finding the man she is looking for. Finally, she meets the charming Munga (Peter Kazungu) and realises that, with the beach boys at the Coast, love is a business.
“When you are around these young men, you feel 10 years younger, “ says lead actress Tiesel, “ I can completely understand women who travel to countries like Kenya in search of lovers.”
As the affair continues, complete with graphic scenes, Munga’s demands for money become more frequent and he uses every opportunity to dupe the mzungu.
Naturally, it proved difficult for the director to find actors with the courage to appear naked in front of the camera.
Tiesel says such scenes are challenging to shoot but thinks the experience must have been harder for the Kenyan actors.