Review Le Paradis – Review on FilmTotaal

Director: Zeno Graton | Script: Zeno Graton, Clara’s executioner | Cast: Khalil Ben Gharbia (Joe), Julien De Saint Jean (William), Eye Haidara (Sophie), others | Time to play: 88 minutes | Year: 2023

Khalil Ben Gharbia made his entrance last year as an object of rebellious lust in François Ozon’s wonderfully kitsch. Peter of Kant. Entertaining gay prison drama The Paradise First-time director Zeno Graton isn’t quite as outspoken and idiosyncratic, but paired with his opponent Julien De Saint Jean, Gharbia manages to craft a compelling romance that’s refreshingly not made too impossible.

Joe is serving his sentence in a closed juvenile detention center until the arrival of the vulnerable William, with his piercing gaze and artistic side, makes his head spin. Graton wastes little time looking at the cat from the tree and soon sparks fly between the two. Their mutual sensuality is often and tenderly portrayed, though these moments dutifully remain within the confines of a teen movie.

They cavort in the woods, kiss passionately, communicate across the wall that separates their beds, and perhaps in the sensual scene, William tattoos Joe while the other boys watch mesmerized. The two fall head over heels for each other in an environment that is filled with arrogant behavior, but the clichés of internal bullying and hostility are missing. It dominates the softness that emerges from moments like watching fireworks from the patio.

Joe and William especially make it hard for each other, because the fact that two guys like each other seems to have little impact beyond their own secret. Although one of Joe’s counselors understandably makes it clear to him that the institution is not the place to express his mutual affection, The Paradise promote a welcome celebration of your love.

The fact that the film takes place almost entirely within the walls of the institution certainly need not be a problem, as the strong much freedom last year it proved it, but here it still causes a certain monotony. Most notable are the prominent red and blue uniforms, a special paper for analogue photography and William’s paintings. In addition, the accents are to be found mainly in the beautiful selection of Arabic songs and a revealing rap by Joe.

In the background, there is some criticism of the failed reintegration policy for convicted youth in Belgium. The charming Fahd is a moving example of this. Although he diligently prepares for his return to society, all the educational institutions reject him for the inability to provide him with proper guidance due to a shortage of staff. A scene in which Fahd snaps is impressive, as is the image of the other boys banging on his cell door in protest and looking out the small windows with exasperated looks.

In the end, Graton goes to a somewhat extreme and unexpected way to end his story, but it results in a sweet final scene. The Paradise thus, it has mostly become a sweet and accessible film that doesn’t irritate and thus offers a doorway for acceptance of LGBTQ+ people to be more open to discussion among young adults.

Varsha Rai

Hi, Varsha here. I am a very passionate writer with a knack for the art of words and I hope to share my stories and information in a way that is meaningful and inspiring. At, I write mostly on latest and upcoming movies, movie reviews and everything related to movies. Catch up with me on - [email protected]
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