a film by Gaël Morel
2011 | 96 mins | France
›› Our Paradise - Notre Paradis
a hauntingly beautiful thriller of contrasts.
Our Paradise by Gaël Morel
Official Synopsis:-

Aging prostitute Vassili stumbles upon an unconscious young trick in a notorious Parisian cruising ground and takes him home to nurse his wounds. It's not long before the two men discover a burning connection and become lovers and accomplices, fleecing their clients one-by-one.

However, when Vassili's violent past comes back to haunt him, the couple decide to flee the city in the hope of finding a place where they can be happy and content forever. But can they truly escape their inner demons?
Our Paradise by Gaël Morel
Dave Says:-

Fans of French indie star Stéphane Rideau of Presque Rien fame will no doubt relish the opportunity to see him again and see a lot of him you do, in the unnerving sexual thriller. Yet whilst explicit frontal nudity is to the fore here, equally to be found are a series of wonderfully sweet scenes, ones that acutely showcase the emotional bond between two men of differing ages and not just that of sex-for-sale lovers Vassili and Angelo, but also the devotion shared between thirty-something Kamel and his sugar-daddy styled partner Victor; Vassili's first client and their luxurious home that forms the basis of the paradise of the title.

Only in writer and director Gaël (Le Clan) Morel's hands, this is just one half of the story, given it isn't long before the narrative takes a markedly dark direction, as scenes of touching same-sex love are juxtaposed with acts of bloody violence. And it is here that Rideau's Jekyll and Hyde persona dominates, with his almost parental like care for his old friend Anna's son, at odds with the mindset of a serial killer, only too keen to deliver his homicidal wrath against anyone who considers him past his hustling sell-by-date.

Hauntingly beautiful, in telling his striking story Morel is aided by a fine cast, with Oscar® nominee Didier Flamand as Victor and Béatrice Dalle as Anna putting in splendid work, as too do Rideau and newcomer Dimitri Durdaine as the murderous pair, dark deeds that Jean-Christophe Bouvet is soon to come face to face with, in the film's deliciously camp opening.

Well shot throughout, with lush cinematography of Paris mixing with picture postcard views of the snow covered provincial French countryside, this marks a biting, brutal, if contrastingly tender work, given the relationship between the boys is all but lovingly affectionate. True, shades of Pascal Arnold and Jean-Marc Barr's American Translation are to be found. But what is equally clear is that Morel is relishing the narrative twists and turns of his piece; namely the willingness of a partner who seemingly out of blind devotion to their lover, becomes a knowing accomplice to murder. Paradise Lost; indeed.

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

›› Available to buy from Amazon.com.

›› Available to buy from Amazon.co.uk.
available on DVD as part of the Queer Culture Cinema catalogue: 19.February.2013 / US.
available on DVD as part of the TLA Releasing UK catalogue 09.July.2012 / UK.
screened as part of the 26th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, 2012.
principal players: Stéphane Rideau / Vassili, Dimitri Durdaine / Angelo, Béatrice Dalle / Anna,
Didier Flamand / Victor, Raymonde Bronstein / Anna's Mother, Malik Issolah / Kamel, Rabah Zahi /
Saïd, Jean-Christophe Bouvet / the First Client, Paul Andrei Roch / the Foot Fetishist,
Ludovic Berthillot / Gerland and Mathis Morisset as Le Petit Vassili.
dedicated to the memory of our friend François Groult.
Revised and Copyright 2013 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #505
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