Paradise brings the party to Thessaloniki’s international competition
by Joseph Proimakis
10/11/2011 - Going back to his hometown of Patra for his sophomore project Paradise, Panayiotis Fafoutis seeks codes of engagement in a foursome of intertwined love stories reaching boiling point in the midst of the city’s legendary carnival.
A romantic young girl comes back from her studies to visit her DJ boyfriend and spend a weekend of partying with him,while a young man is pushing the older divorcee he’s in love with to embrace their relationship by revealing it to her daughter, who also has a thing for him. In the meantime, a tractor driver is desperately trying to win back his estranged wife's affection and a chef sets an elaborate plan in motion to get his womanizer boss in bed with him.
“The film comes from my need to explore the subject of companionship and see if there are any keys, or rules to keeping a relationship working”, Fafoutis tells Cineuropa, a few hours after the film’s world premiere as part of the International Competition section of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival.
“I wanted to throw four parallel stories in there, so as to cover a certain set of ‘what ifs’” he adds, and although all his heroes’ struggles edge closer to the ugly side of the relationship spectrum than what one might feel comfortable with, he still retains his optimism: “It’s true that I‘m sort of a fatalist by nature”, he admits, “but through all this, in the end everyone finds the path they should have taken all along”.
Featuring a soundtrack by local deck legend G-Pal (aka George Palikaris), the film doesn’t delve much in the actual madness of the carnival enveloping its story, but rather keeps it as background to the roller-coaster rides his characters go through. However, G-Pal’s immensely uplifting industrial techno beats inject some much needed rhythm into the film’s weaker second half, at times turning the movie into an invigorating party session, which should line up nicely with the film’s local release date around the actual carnival, promising decent local returns.