Paraíso B

(Nicolás Acuña, Chile, 2002)


Paraíso B (Paradise B) from Chile is a fairly conventional, generic film. But it is intriguing in the way it addresses the dramatic conditions of working class existence.

Director Nicolás Acuña uses the bare bones of a film noir plotline – a young guy tries to break way from the malign influence of El Jefe (The Boss, played by veteran Nelson Villagra) and woo a childhood sweetheart (Leonor Varela from Blade 2 [2002]) in order to turn his life around.

Like Fernando Meirelles' City of God (2002), Paraíso B weighs a pervasive sense of social hopelessness against the macho determination of individuals to be free. It is a world in which violence and crime rule, but also seem to offer a solution to those in desperate need of a better life.

But perhaps the most memorable aspect of this film (to me, at least) is that the Promised Land to which the characters aspire is not America but ... Australia, symbolised in a photo of the Opera House.

© Adrian Martin February 2004

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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