Queen of Paradis

Art and the making or producing of it is rather a mystery for most of us. Those of us who are not artists, anyways. Films like this which pull back the curtain on the production of art while giving us an insight to the artist themselves is like a gem waiting to be unearthed.

Husband and wife work together on this film. Wife is the artist. Reine Paradis (what a great name!) was born in France and produces narrative photographic series in which she is the main character. Her work tends to operate on the border of human imagination as it explores what reality truly is. Paradis is married to American Carl Lindstrom (Avicii: True Stories), who is a film maker. So, for the purpose of this documentary, it is a marriage made in art heaven

Reine Paradis and her husband now live in Los Angeles. Her last photo series Jungle was a big success. This spurred her husband Carl to follow her around during the making of her next project, a photo series called Midnight. Because of the success of Jungle, Midnight is highly anticipated.

For this one she will travel across the United States looking for shooting locales. What she is working on seems to be a combination of a piercing blue background, loads of bright colours – yellows and oranges, geometric shapes, and interesting landscapes.

Sitting and being the passive observer you realize how, in some instances, physically demanding it can be to be an artist. Reine is not just sitting on a stool and painting. She is scouting locations. She is climbing mountains wearing precious little. She is sitting up on billboards (without permission) for hours at a time, so long that she has trouble getting up. The film opens up a whole other aspect of the creation of art which I never thought of. For her work, Reine Paradis becomes part artist and part stunt woman.

What is much more typical are the moments in which we see her developing her ideas for the shots and then agonizing over finding locations. She does not want just any background. Any mountain range, but the mountain range she has in her mind’s eye to best serve her photo. You really get to see how art is not slap dash. It is really thought out. The pressure is on when she gets to the site and has all her props, set and costume to then get the right light.

If you completely allow yourself to be immersed in the film and its tone then it becomes a surreal experience. You also in some instances feel a part of the process because she has allowed you such access.

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