This film is part of the school of realism, mainly showing people walking and staring in the distance. The filmmaker might think it is all very deep and dramatic to just show them staring, thinking and walking through the city (often accompanied by cliche serene guitar music), but it's actually the easiest way of filmmaking. Anyone can do this. The audience is never made part of any storyline, there is no attempt whatsoever to find identification or engagement - instead the filmmaker makes the mistake that observing them is enough. The result is a very distant look at characters we don't really care about. Even when it turns out the bag with money is stolen or one of them has died, or when the girl seeks an illegal abortion or when two of them find each other, we don't feel anything. Instead we again see a lot of people staring, with a musical interlude here and there, a 'nice' vomiting scene every now and then and of course the all time arthouse classic of a lonely naked woman in a bath tub. Or what to think of the 'outstanding' idea of a flashlight being switched on and off by one of the protagonists pondering about suicide. How symbolic! How inventive! As for the subject matter or themes or the style of filmmaking: nothing new here, we've seen this numerous times before. The sheer lack of originality, authenticity or urgency is stunning. Compare this to the masterpiece Naked, also about a drifter. The intelligence of that film, the bravoure and artistic depth, where the audience is never underestimated. Naked is an example of what it brings when a filmmaker challenges himself to turn something into an artpiece. The fact that both Berlin and Rotterdam have selected Paradise Drifters means arthouse is suffering from creative poverty and is actually in crisis.
Paradise Drifters is a fragmented portrayal of three homeless young adults who are heading to southern Europe in search of money, love and happiness.
December 12, 2020