Austrian director Ulrich Seidl, who scandalised cinema’s top international showcase five years ago with another take on rich and poor and the sex trade, “Import/Export”, this time turns his camera on women as the consumers.
“Paradise: Love” stars Margarethe Tiesel as Teresa, a 50-year-old Viennese single mother of an insolent teenage daughter who needs a break from it all, in a breakout performance cheered by audiences here.
She sets off alone to the white sandy coast of eastern Kenya where she falls in with a group of “sugar mamas”, fellow middle-aged women who feel neglected at home and seek the attention of much younger local men in exchange for cash.
“It is about female loneliness that takes hold when you reach a certain age and no longer look like someone from an advert,” Tiesel told reporters.
“The exploited begin to exploit in a place where they have power. I don’t judge these women, I understand them and I understand completely what they struggle with.”