Alexander Armas Kereklidis Turpin |
17:00 mins |
Paradise, by Alexander Armas Kereklidis Turpin, brings us a semi-dystopian future wherein the present climate crisis has reached an overall greater existential affect on our collective psyche. The film focuses on the anxieties and ramblings of four young children in a bunker, already suggestive of a post-apocalyptic landscape, as they contemplate the state of the world and the ethics of the present situation.
The greatest shift in perspective that Paradise creates in us is through the juxtaposition of the figure of the child and the existential threat of climate crisis. In a typical sense, conventionally speaking, the child is usually used to symbolise the potentiality of the future, a blank canvas by which ideas of progress and society may be moulded or seeded. In the present situation we see a great capacity for political and environmental understanding and need for change amongst the young generations. Those who have been termed the Greta-generation are more savvy, aware and sure of their position and need for action. The children of the future in Paradise, on the other hand, are thoroughly dismayed and pessimistic about a vision of ethical, environmental humanity. From ideations of war, suicide and violence to a total mistrust of forebears, the philosophical outlook of the children in Paradise sobers and shocks us into a solemn viewing experience. What’s more, the future setting invokes the idea of a time beyond the Greta-generation where a new generation suffers the misfortune of the previous: this generation, Paradise says, is the time to act.
The film represents an overall darker turn in terms of response to the climate crisis and threat of death. The expression of the children’s existential angst comes in the form of a semi-spiritual and militaristic form. There’s something decidedly definitive and absolute about the children’s position that lacks room for change. It is this kind of stone-wall inability to turn back that informs a greater and more sure position. The potential of a mystic spiritualism may be being outlined here. Maybe a form of mystical-environmental-militaristic impulse. This is not to say that spiritualism alone is an answer to climate crisis – the children outline many more ideas including the destruction of currency – but the type of stalwart attitude that is produced by a semi-religious philosophical system – one that we lack in a post-enlightenment age – imbues the children’s ideas with a sense of urgency that we lack. Is the turn to a spiritual cosmogony a potential aid in the climate crisis? Paradise may suggest so.
This review barely scratches the surface of such a rich film. The performances from the children are outstanding and the pervading anxiety that Turpin achieves through film form creates a sombre and sobering watch that alerts us to the present catastrophe unfolding before us.