Poignant and disarmingly honest, Mexican director Mariana Chenillo’s second feature explores the difficulty of change and our modern obsession with body-type through the story of an overweight couple trying to slim down together.
Childhood sweethearts Carmen and Alfredo live a life of quiet bliss in Satélite, a sleepy suburb outside of Mexico City. When Alfredo is offered a promotion, the lovebirds make the move into the bustling metropolis. It's a rude awakening for Carmen, who until now has not really worried about the fact that she and Alfredo are both overweight. After overhearing gossip about their body shapes at a company party, she decides that it is time to swap the donuts for salads, and urges Alfredo to join her in a weight-loss program. But when only one of them actually starts to slim down, a rift emerges in their relationship.
Poignant and disarmingly honest, Mariana Chenillo's second feature, based on Julieta Arévalo's eponymous short story, explores with gentle humour the difficulty of change and our modern obsession with body size. Through the guise of romantic comedy, Paradise offers compelling commentary on the pressure that people — especially women — receive from society to be thin at all costs.
Social critique aside, it is Carmen and Alfredo's relationship that is the heart of Paradise. Their life together is rendered with tender sensuality, each revelling in the company of the other — until a growing discrepancy in their physiques threatens to tear them apart.
When the difference between fat and
skinny seems able to make or break a relationship
as solid as Carmen and Alfredo's,
we know something is very wrong. The
question thereafter becomes one of how to