The final instalment of Ulrich Seidl’s interweaving ‘Paradise’ trilogy sees overweight 13-year-old Meli (Melanie Lenz), daughter of Love’s Teresa and niece of Faith’s Anna Maria, sent to a less than luxurious summer diet camp while her mother is in Kenya. Even as the instructors fail to motivate their charges, friendships are made, particularly between Meli and Varena, her worldly roommate. First love rears its head too, as Meli develops an overwhelming crush on the camp doctor, her senior by some 40 years.
While seasoned viewers of the director’s previous work may anticipate how this situation will develop, one of the pleasant surprises of the film is Seidl’s subversion of such expectations. To be sure, the relationship is troubling, but there is an element of sympathy in its unexpected and refreshing depiction, as is the warmth and tenderness shown towards the central character. (Notes by Kevin Coyne.)