“Netflix” premiere “Paradise”: a Different Landscape of Dystopian Vilnius
On July 27th German filmmakers’ film “Paradise” was introduced on the Netflix platform. Almost immediately after its premiere the futuristic action thriller was already one the 10 most watched Netflix films in our country. Many viewers will probably be surprised to learn that part of the film’s plot takes place in Lithuania, including Vilnius. In “Paradise” the Lithuanian capital is presented in a completely different way than usual. Round towers, futuristic buildings, the well-known silhouettes of the city, as well as ordinary streets and neighborhoods scattered among them bathe in the colors of a somewhat gloomy, yet impressive dystopian future.
The film’s director, Boris Kunz, takes the audience to a not-too distant future where genetic engineering is perfected so that people can sell each other their age. A segment of humanity on the fringes of society is trading in youth, while a huge company is profiting from a new, life-changing opportunity. Against the background of this dystopian world, a young couple is desperately trying to recover the lost 40 years of their lives: this is the story of “Paradise”. A team of more than 400 professionals worked on making this film in Lithuania, most of them were Lithuanians. The shooting in our country lasted over 40 days, however, the preparations took several months.
Actors speaking Lithuanian in the background, Lithuanian store names and road signs, well-known Vilnius neighborhoods as well as the cities of Klaipėda and Palanga seen from unexpected angles: such details will be noticed by the global audience of “Paradise”.
“In recent years, we have been used to Scandinavian TV series of the Nordic noir genre, and the German filmmakers brought a completely different approach. Everything was done not trying to make it cheaper or simpler, but more beautiful and impressive instead, responding to the needs of the script,” Monika Sakalauskaitė, the Lithuanian line producer who worked on the set, told us in an interview earlier.
From Žvėrynas to Fabijoniškės: Vilnius Locations that Appear in the Film
In “Paradise”, viewers will be able to spot quite a number of well-known places of Vilnius, such as popular intersections with electric vehicles zooming around, the shooting also took place in Keistuolių theater, Vingis Park, Gediminas Avenue and other locations all around the city.
However, 3 unique locations of the Lithuanian capital are best recognized and featured in the film. One of them is the former Government guest house in Žvėrynas neighborhood.. In the past, the politicians of the Soviet and Western countries stayed in the luxurious villa, and in the film, the key characters of the story find refuge here.
Antakalnis cemetery plays an equally important role in the film. In the cemetery, divided into blocks, the protagonist of “Paradise” commits a kidnapping while trying to save his wife. A prop sculpture was installed specially for the shooting and in the film it became a large monument.
In a number of panoramic scenes one can see the Fabijoniškės neighborhood and its stark multi-storey concrete jungle, playgrounds, courtyards and sprawling streets. Location managers working in Vilnius notice that quite a few filmmakers have already appreciated the cinematographic appeal of the neighborhood. An interesting piece of trivia: 5 years ago Fabijoniškės played a district of the Soviet Union city of the 80ies in the eponymous TV series “Chernobyl”, more recently, in another TV series “Young Wallander” the neighborhood became the modern-day city of Malmö, and in “Paradise” Fabijoniškės transported the audience to a futuristic story.
“Paradise” script was written by Simon Amberger, Peter Kocyla and Boris Kunz. The line producer in Lithuania was Monika Sakalauskaitė and the shooting in Lithuania was organized by the film production company “Ahil”.