These men sell the white women trinkets, but Teresa's friend Teresas (Inge Maux) soon informs her that other things can be bought as well. Teresa has a young black man who dances for her, who she has taught to say the German equivalent of 'sexy beast' much to their mutual amusement. Teresa herself is insecure and unsure of the idea, but after a false start she begins to get a taste for it.
The dynamics of poverty, alienation and the differing modes and psychologies of exploitation gradually become apparent, even then it is unclear who exactly is doing the exploiting. The white women, with their 'First World problems', might seem contemptible, yet Seidl gives them a rationale and motivation. They have never got what they wanted, and now that they have the opportunity to get it, they don't know how to do so gracefully or with sympathy. There is no doubt that Paradise: Love immerses you in the humiliation and tawdriness rather than hinting at it, but isn't that itself a valid artistic choice?
Paradise: Love opens with a scene which perfectly sums up the contradictions in Seidl's own methods. We see a party of Down's syndrome patients sitting patiently in dodgem cars. As the scene goes on at length, it is tempting to find the reactions funny, which is immediately followed by a sense of guilt. The scene stands as a symbol for our concepts of paradise - what we think we want makes us buffoonish, traps us, frightens us and puts us in danger, but the problem is not ours. If Seidl hates anything, it is the systemic failures of the world which make people hateful and not the people they really are.
The 56th BFI London Film Festival runs from 10-21 October. For more of our LFF coverage, simply follow this link.