In its first shot, PARA:DIES gives us a glimpse of the gleaming white facade of a chic Salzburg single-family house with a garden. In this house live Jasmin and Lee – oddly, somehow settled and yet only temporarily – who are sitting next to each other on a white couch and talking about their first date. The coquettish shyness in front of the camera, the rapid change between introverted and extroverted speech, and the “seriously cringe” mood of the opening minutes at first convincingly conceal the fact that this apparent documentary is actually a feature film by (and with) Elena Wolff and Julia Windischbauer.
In their conversations together and one-on-one with the “filmmaker” (Melanie Sidhu), Jasmin and Lee gradually reveal themselves through their individual dreams, fears, and traumas, through which the micro-power relations in the “relashe” are also revealed. The relationship between the two is challenged by the gaze of the third party, and the shifts at the level of the regime of gaze lead to a shift in desire and the structure of the relationships. The question of authorship as well as the position of the gaze is held in tension throughout the film – and which is all the more unresolved by the late entry of the “filmmaker” into the filmic image.
PARA:DIES is embarrassing, painful, fun and, along the way, shows a fairly complex, psychologically subtly drawn queer relationship that has rarely been seen in (Austrian) cinema. (Nicole Kandioler)
Translation: John Wojtowicz
Jasmin and Lee move back to Anif in the countryside of Salzburg. Documentary filmmaker Amira accompanies them and films their relationship, gradually becoming part of a complicated three-way constellation. The feature film debut PARA:DIES is a smart docufiction and an outstandingly acted work about queer self-conception and forging of identity in times of obligatory self-expression and self-exploitation. (Diagonale)