LocationHB Cinema Box Corner
Movie nameHome Alone
Ticket number2 Adults, 2 Children, 2 Seniors
Decidedly not for all tastes, this mix of fashion film, youth dystopia and exploitation of women’s reformatories is the debut of Alice Weddington from Bilbao in the film after an award-winning career as a short filmmaker. Filmed entirely in English, with a cast of international fame (Emma Roberts, Awkwafina and Milla Jojovich are on board) and with Nacho Vigalondo appearing as co-writer, the film is destined to attract attention.
And to generate controversy, of course. He already did it during his last Sitges festival, relieving many critics who did not enter his hyperesthetic game, which proposes a story between futuristic and Victorian (but not steampunk), where the visual metaphor and costume design are more important than the plot rigor. Of course, it is not hard sci-fi seventies, and their abundant values must be located elsewhere.
‘Paradise Hills’ presents us with a world (a near future, another dimension, a mental state?) In which there are only two social classes, the privileged and those below. We follow the adventures of Uma (Roberts), a young woman interned in Paradise Hills, academy for young ladies where they are re-educated to enter high society (in the case of our heroine, facing a marriage), but that hides a reality much more disturbing.
The final revelation does not end up being as interesting as the walk we take in this superficial, crystalline and painful world before we get there: musical moments shot with the exquisiteness of a k-pop ballad, a hallucinogenic ride on a roundabout mount, literal costume changes in each scene … ‘Paradise Hills’ is absolutely captivating in the visual, and as a catalog of prints of a colorful exquisite, it is a unique and very brave proposal for a debutante.
Interestingly, the film is a song to freedom and the destruction of social barriers, but it is engrossed in the radicality of its aesthetics, to the point that its messages are partially canceled: it is clear that Paradise Hills is a repressive center, and the elegant and distinguished society in which the protagonists do not fit, a nest of superficiality. But the film never abandons its radical proposal in production design, leaving the impression that it abominates a society where aesthetics is the main thing … but it is also captivated by it.
It is not a problem because the visual bet of the peliculas on-line is very clear, and the message also: thanks to the varied (also in terms of representation) of his female cast, it is clear what Waddington wants to tell. Faced with ceremonial social conventions with which they are crushed day and night, the girls find relief in natural and spontaneous relationships, among them a sincere friendship story that the film has disarming honesty, in the style of the best young adult literature, where the film also drinks a lot.
There are some ups and downs of interest in ‘Paradise Hills’ derived from its total commitment to the visual rather than taking care of the narrative: romantic deviations have no interest, and what happens outside the center, hardly possesses it. But the work of the performers and the production design is so remarkable that this mix of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘The possessed of Stepford’ reveals a personality of its own from its first scene.
In addition, it is clear that – unlike what is seen, precisely, in so many fashion films that seek to epate over any other issue – Alice Weddington loves the raw material that forms the mother mass of her film. The windings with the series B of monsters of the nineties of the final section (Milla Jovovich, of course, also helps in that sense) are not accidental, and Weddington assumes them of a thousand loves, discarding – despite appearances – any kind of superficiality in proposal. This author has things to tell really.