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AFM News: Feature Doc On Kenyan Men Who Earn Living 'Servicing' White Female Sex tourists

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by Tambay A. Obenson
November 5, 2012 12:04 PM
14 Comments
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Ulrich Seidl’s 'Paradise: Love'

You'll recall Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise franchise of films, which follows 3 individual though interconnected stories of 3 women in love in 3 different locations, which will be released as three separate feature films, instead of 1 -  Paradise: LoveParadise: Faith and Paradise: Hope. The franchise was picked up for USA distribution by Strand Releasing, with a 2013 debut for all three films planned, starting in the first quarter.

The first film, which we've covered most, since it premiered first (Paradise: Love, which screened in competition at Cannes earlier this year), is set in Kenya, and centers on a 50 year old white woman, sister of a missionary and a mother, who gets involved with a Kenyan "beach boy" as the director describes the character on his website, until she realizes that, in short, this relationship of theirs is really just business - aka *sex tourism*. 

Ulrich describes the woman as a "sugar mama" who's desperate to find love and acceptance, and at the behest of a friend, she goes on vacation to Kenya, where she hopes to find what she's missing, and hooks up with some young Kenyan stud who may or may not be really interested in her, and who may or may not be a hustler/male prostitute. 

As I've said previously, there's so much here to uncover, analyze and critique; It's actually an idea/theme that's ripe for exploration, even though this won't be the first time, and presents lots of opportunities to dissect matters of race, class, globalization, and subjects that seem to have been rendered taboo; my concern, as always, is the direction and POV taken. 

And early reviews of the film weren't too encouraging.

Some reactions to the film, from those who've seen it:

From Cédric Succivalli, president of the International Cinephile Society and Cannes insider: 

PARADISE : LOVE is beyond abominable, I want to forget about it right now.

And from Twitch:

Ulrich Seidl's PARADISE: LOVE Doesn't Flinch, But You Might... confrontational, often ugly depiction of different forms of desperation and exploitation set against a sex tourism backdrop, and indeed, the audience seemed split between vehement disgust and fervent praise.

Ahh... one of those polarizing films. Got it! Like I said, we'll just have to wait until one of us here at S&A sees it.

But you should know, as I learned this morning, that director Seidl is planning to return to the same territory, but this time, tackle the issues in a documentary instead of scripted film.

Seidl pitched the film at the ongoing AFM, which is said to be partly financed, and is currently in pre-production, with a February 2014 completion date expected.

The film's producer Philippe Bober confirms that it's already been sold to broadcasters around Europe.

As Screen Daily reports:

Treading similar turf to Seidl’s Paradise: Love (which screened in Cannes), The film portrays the lives and daily routines of young Kenyan men who earn their living with white female sex tourists mostly from Austria, Germany and Switzerland - but also from other western countries.

It's worth noting that director Seidl's films have always been very frank, raw and controversial; he had some trouble financing the Paradise trilogy, but obviously eventually got the money he needed.

I expect the upcoming documentary will probably be just as controversial, although, hopelly honest and complete.

As a refresher, here's a preview/trailer of the the seemingly controversial first film Paradise: Love:

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14 Comments

  • BlackMan | November 6, 2012 10:58 PMReply

    YucK! Big Fat Obese OLD looking pillsbury Dough Gals want to live a fantasy that is unattainable in her homeland. lol. Might as well go to where they can barely feed themselves. The Male Sex sellers are not at fault. White colonizers are in charge of their land and economy and REFUSE to share the money they STOLE. And they are currently pillaging and STEALING from them. They might as well bone one of their depressed outcast and hopefully make her send money to them on a monthly basis.

    The shame isn't the males. They do not have jobs or anything to do. The shame is on their colonial masters. This PROVES the slavemaster's wives longed for a Black Buck.

  • Stacie | November 6, 2012 4:49 PMReply

    I think it's a great subject for a documentary that covers all the places where this is happening and tackles issues of gender and class. Men have been taking advantage of sex tourism in poor countries since forever. American or European men travel to Asia, South America, Africa, the Caribbean and the local women fawn all over them. That's basically what the mail order bride system is all about. Now women in the so called western world are becoming more independent, making more money and therefore traveling with girlfriends or alone. North Africa, especially Morocco, has also become a place where european women go to meet men. Some of these women marry these men and bring them to Europe. European or American women become a ticket out of poverty for the men.

  • Carl | November 6, 2012 10:43 AMReply

    It's real, that's for sure. Ask Terry McMillan, she brought her groove back home. She paid for it but it turned out to be Jamaica brown sugar :-( so I wonder if her encounter is part of the statistics?

  • Adam Scott Thompson | November 6, 2012 10:12 AMReply

    "Heading South" touched on it back in '05, but I don't think folks were ready for it. It's a very real phenomenon, though -- and very exploitative.

  • ALM | November 5, 2012 9:04 PMReply

    It's interesting that the male is being painted as a hustler/male prostitute, while the woman is being painted as a victim. I have read literature under the umbrella of gender studies on this very topic. The disturbing part is that some of these young men would be barely legal or not even of legal age if this was happening in the U.S. These are grown women. Some of these women seem to take advantage of the fact that they can capitalize on the weak economies of other nations by throwing money at underaged boys. If the boys are underaged, they are the victims, not the women, no matter how much money is being thrown at them.

  • Tola | November 6, 2012 8:29 PM

    another on point view. These boys are in very bad situations and Im sure would prefer the young beauties of thier land anyday over this filth and to make it seems like these pedophilic women are victims, geez I think we need to create a white rape bag to replace the black one of 201st century stereotypes

  • Mark & Darla | November 5, 2012 7:35 PMReply

    *bitches be looking for dicks*

  • Tola | November 6, 2012 8:21 PM

    Exactly!

  • Danny | November 5, 2012 3:51 PMReply

    In Jamaica, this is actually very common anyone who has been down there will see what I mean. But the white women I have seen in Jamaica with the young beach boys are also young themselves. It is interesting though to see sex tourism be examined from this angle which often doesn't get much media attention. Women regardless of their age search the Caribbean and Africa for young attractive black men. The women get the sex and then get their money basically it is male prostitution.

  • Nikyatu | November 5, 2012 1:56 PMReply

    From what I understand this is a narrative film, not a doc:" The origin of the film was a screenplay Ulrich Seidl wrote with his wife Veronika Franz, consisting of six stories about Westerners who travel to Third World countries as tourists. Sex tourism became a recurring motif in the script."

    Looking forward to this piece. I love this process as he starts with a very specific script-minus dialogue-then utilizes non actors and locations to influence the screenplay's execution, which he shoots chronologically (if only we all had this luxury) A controversial filmmaker, this one.

  • Berrygirl | November 5, 2012 1:12 PMReply

    Reminds me of the 2005 movie 'Heading South' (Vers le Sud) set in Haiti in the late 1970's. Like so much that's centered around race/sex, this topic is taboo for many especially when the main characters are not white males.

  • Dwann | November 5, 2012 12:56 PMReply

    There was a film similar to this one that came out in 2005, called "Heading South." Sex sells. And so-called forbidden sex (white women, black men), sells even more. It's all a bit overwrought in my opinion. I suppose it depends on how the characters and experiences are portrayed. We shall see.

  • Sygh | November 5, 2012 12:52 PMReply

    It seems like I saw this same or similar movie about 10 plus years ago but it was a Carribean setting, I think. But topic was the exact same thing and I think the timeline was in the 70s. Does anyone recall the name of that film?

  • DD | November 5, 2012 12:18 PMReply

    Hate it or love it this film is TRUTH! I see it everyday in the Caribbean. Its always the over 50 something over weight white woman going for the chiseled black beach boy. They shouldnt lie to themselves its nothing but business

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