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PARADISE! PARADISE!

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by Kurdwin Ayub

grade: 7.5

In Paradise! Paradise! two cultures are compared through their colours, their sounds, their city streets. Different languages immediately become a universal language, immediately become cinema. At the Diagonale’22.

A new world

Young filmmaker Kurdwin Ayub immediately caught the attention of audiences and critics as soon as she made her first short films. Her young and innovative directorial approach, where a sincere realism is well matched with pop inserts and social media language, immediately revealed an extraordinary talent and a great sensitivity in staging stories of teenagers enriched also by a strong autobiographical nature. The same applies to his debut documentary, Paradise! Paradise! , made in 2016 and shown to the audience again at the Diagonale’22 as part of the In Referenz section.

In Paradise! Paradise! , we finally become part of Kurdwin Ayub’s world and get to know her story, her family and her traditions up close. Born in Iraq in 1990, the filmmaker moved with her family to Vienna the following year. Several years later, in 2016, she accompanied her father Omar on a trip to her homeland. Thus, she made Paradise! Paradise! . An intimate and sensitive portrait of two different cultures, as well as a tender generational story with many difficult moments.

Life in Vienna. Joking with one’s family. Going shopping. But also choosing the right clothes to take on a trip, so as to cover all the tattoos. The director’s father is enthusiastic about returning to his hometown, where he would even like to look for a flat. Kurdwin, for her part, initially struggles to adapt to this new environment, to understand some of her relatives’ habits, to imagine living there forever.

Irony, courage, but also a little fear, therefore, characterise this precious little Paradise! Paradise! in which two cultures are compared through their colours, their sounds, their city streets. Different languages immediately become a universal language, immediately become cinema. Through Kurdwin Ayub’s eyes, we too discover a totally new world for the first time. Through the words and actions of her father Omar, we are able to fully understand its essence.

In this first documentary by the director, we immediately recognise her unmistakable style. As was the case in her short films, on this occasion too the camera is able to capture every detail, every expression of the protagonists, every nuance of the world presented to us. Paradise! Paradise! is an extremely important film within Kurdwin Ayub’s filmography. A film that officially marks the director’s entry into the world of feature films, and a film that, at the same time, shows us the director’s story at close quarters, rightly classifying itself as her most intimate and personal work. The story of two worlds and two cultures that on screen appear to us more alive than ever.

Original title: Paradies! Paradies!
Directed by: Kurdwin Ayub
Country/year: Austria / 2016
Running time: 78’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Kurdwin Ayub
Cinematography: Kurdwin Ayub
Produced by: Takacs Filmproduktion

Info: the page of Paradise! Paradise! on the website of the Diagonale; the page of Paradise! Paradise! on iMDb; the page of Paradise! Paradise! on the website of Kurdwin Ayub