Excerpts from an interview with Ulrich Seidl

"PARADISE" - How did you come up with this title for the trilogy?

In a Biblical sense, Paradise is the promise of a permanent state of happiness, but in the tourism industry it is a frequently overused term that for many people evokes the desire for sun, sea, freedom, love and sex. And in that way the title applies to all three stories and films, which portray three women trying to realize their unfulfilled dreams and desires.

How does the notion of Paradise apply to young girls at a diet camp?

It's not the setting of the story that should be taken as Paradise, but rather – as with both the other stories and films – the longing for it. This film describes the dreams and desires of pubescent girls about life, love and their ideas of sexuality. Because she is overweight, Melanie, the film's protagonist, lacks confidence and thinks that her physical appearance is the reason why she is rejected by the man for whom she experiences her first true love.

As a director and as a man, what is it about these social ideals of beauty that disturbs you?

I don't want others to dictate to me what is beautiful. I'm disturbed by the homogenization of our notion of beauty. I'm disturbed by the social pressures and hypocrisy surrounding it. And I'm especially disturbed that these dictates are set down by people and industries whose only interest is making money.

Ulrich Seidl in einem Interview mit Claus Philipp