›› Our Paradise - Notre Paradis ‹‹

a film by Gaël Morel.

2011 | 96 mins | France.

a hauntingly beautiful thriller of contrasts.

Dave says:

From writer and director Gaël Morel of Le Clan fame, comes this hauntingly beautiful thriller of contrasts.

And it all began when ageing prostitute Vassili (Stéphane Rideau) stumbled upon the body of an unconscious young man in the notorious Bois de Boulogne cruising grounds of Paris. Taking pity on the youth, he takes his Angelo (Dimitri Durdaine) home to nurse his wounds and more, given it's not long before the two hustlers become one in the night. Determined to make as much easy money as they can, they set out to fleece their clients one-by-one. Only when Vassili's troubled past comes back to haunt him, can the two flee the city in time to start a new life together, without leaving a trail of destruction in their wake?

Well-played throughout, with the lush cinematography of the French capital giving way to picture postcard views of the snow covered provincial countryside, this is a work that finds Morel delight in all of the twists and turns of his screenplay, vividly juxtaposing the bloody violence of the piece, with a series of wonderfully tender scenes that beautifully showcase the emotional bond between two men of differing ages. And not just that of the all-consuming relationship between sex-for-sale lovers Vassili and Angelo, but also the devotion shared between thirty-something Kamel (Malik Issolah) and his sugar-daddy styled partner Victor (Didier Flamand); namely Vassili's first client and their luxurious home that forms the basis of the paradise of the title.

Only and as sure as night follows day, the narrative is soon to take a decidedly dark direction. For it's here that Rideau's Jekyll and Hyde persona dominates, with his almost parental-like care for his old friend Anna's (Béatrice Dalle) son, at odds with the mindset of a serial killer, ever keen to deliver his homicidal wrath against anyone who considers him past his hustling sell-by-date. All of which makes for a feature that whilst filled with many a scene of gay romantic bliss, at the end of the day and such is the savagery depicted, that you cannot help be left with the feeling that this is but a character study of a young man who seemingly out of blind devotion to his lover, becomes a knowing accomplice to his criminal ways. Paradise Lost; indeed.

›› available as part of the TLA RELEASING catalogue: 9th July, 2012 / UK.
›› revised: Tuesday, 28th December, 2021.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - the full monty | Overall - file under ... 3+ stars

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