White Privilege and Desire in the ‘Paradise Trilogy’

in Shades of Whiteness
AutorInnen: Mai-Anh Boger und Vildan Aytekin

With his Paradise-Trilogy Ulrich Seidl has developed a triptychon along the trias of ‘faith, love and hope’ to examine human sexuality in its most desperate and vulnerable forms. All of the three films are centered on white women and each takes a different additional axis of intersectionality into account: Paradise Love with its colonial gaze in Kenia (white tourism and relative wealth), Paradise Faith with its orientalist construction of the Muslim (white Christianity), Paradise Hope with its questioning of lookism and adultism (white fat kids).We will analyze these films in order of appearance from two perspectives. First we will provide an analysis of the specific construction of whiteness in each of them. Second, we will take a psychoanalytic look at the object of white desire presented in the movies. The main theories of reference therefore are Frantz Fanon, especially his work on The Man of Color and the White Women for Paradise Love, Edward Said with his opus Orientalism for Paradise Faith, Michel Foucault on disciplining bodies for Paradise Hope and (Lacanian) psychoanalysis of desire for the question of sexuality and sexualization/fetishization of power.