When Gilda Mattei?s father dies, she is left with nothing but her video camera, her father?s secrets, and a fascination with a movie star named Michael DeSantis. Using her camera as a diary, and propelled by grief and ange... more »r, Gilda sets off on an adventure in New York City. Ultimately, Gilda finds herself right in the middle of her movie star fantasies . . . and the true adventure begins.« less
Sarah F. (Ferdy63) from DALTON, GA Reviewed on 5/19/2008...
Touching film about a young woman dealing with the death of her father and her obsession with a movie star
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Experimental Filmmaking at its Best
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 02/15/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"SEARCHING FOR PARADISE is an autobiographical story written and directed by the gifted Myra Paci. This film is an excellent example of just how fine Indies can be - taking risks on story, on actors, on the mechanics of filming techniques, on pacing, on music scoring, etc. Paci examines the life of Gilda (the superb Susan May Pratt) whose Italian father (Michele Placido in a stunning performance) loves her but leaves her in death to carry on his idiosyncratic view of romance. Gilda fantasizes about meeting and having an affair with a movie star (Chris Noth) and prepares for her adventure by using a video camera to record her father's last days, her mother (Laila Robin), and her friends. When her father dies, her 'search for paradise' takes her (with video camera) to New York where she dons the persona of Paola Mattei from Rome's Espresso magazine just to gain an interview with her movie star hero while living with her grandparents (Joseph Summers has a fine cameo as her grandfather). She has a brief and unsuccessful attempt at romance with a student (Jeremy Davies). Up to this point we know the movie star only through a TV talk show interview Gilda has been watching and Director Paci uses this technique of inserting the black and white TV talk show to probe the personality of the movie star. Gilda as Paola gains her interview, finds a brief and utterly disappointing affair that further bursts her bubble about romance in general. The knowledge that both her father and grandfather had extramarital affairs now seems less romantic and more painful. She returns home to the mother she has never understood and mother and daughter quietly uncover a new relationship.The use of arias from the opera Rigoletto, Vivaldi works , and pop music are used sensitively to enhance the mood of this very quiet story. All of the actors are excellent and the direction is sensitive and illuminating. A lovely little movie, this, and one well worth your attention."
Searching for Paradise- very dramatic autobiography
Laurie | Va. Beach, Va. United States | 09/27/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Searching for Paradise is the story of a young woman's obsession with a famous actor, who thinks that a romance with this actor
( played by Chris Noth- of Mr.Big 'Sex and the City' fame and 'Law & Order' crime-drama series ) will make everything in life perfect- especially after her Italian father dies after a long battle with illness which has left her emotionally vulnerable,hurt & angry. The young woman is played by Susan May Pratt ( '10 things I hate about you','Center Stage' )with an amazing performance.Chris Noth turns in a completely unvain performance-don't expect Mr. Noth to look or be the way you've ever experienced him before.Joseph Summer ( the father of Roy Cohn as a little boy in "Citizen Cohn" movie )is good as the grandfather.Laila Robins ( 'Dream Man' ) as the wife/mother of the main character. Jeremy Davies ( '29 Palms','Spanking the Monkey' ) as a potential love interest. The theme to this movie is "Some fantasies are better left to the imagination". This downbeat romantic drama is filled with deep intense emotions that the young woman tries to cope with by filming them with her hand-held video camera of which she's made home movies of her father before he died. The writing is intelligent. THe acting is intense. This is a very different kind of drama.There are special features: audio commentary by the writer director who wrote this as an autobiography. THere are deleted scenes.There is an interview with Susan May Pratt. THere is also an intimate interview with actor Chris Noth.This film is presented in Widescreen format with dolby digital sound. This is not a romantic drama but a drama about a romantic who is dramatic."
Also shocked by such good reviews
Harlow86 | Ohio | 07/22/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this movie on a whim, thinking I'd give it a try. I thought the backcover summary of the film, though cliche, looked promising as an interesting story. I was wrong. As I watched the movie, I kept waiting for it to get better and for something to happen. However, it did not. I actually found the heroine Gilda to be quite unlikeable. It was very difficult for me to feel any sympathy for her or to relate to her in the slightest. The way the movie was filmed is choppy, and it jumped about quite a lot. I could tell it was attempting to be artsy, but did not have that effect. Characters were introduced, and then quickly snatched away not to be heard from again. Also, there is no real climactic moment. The scene with Chris Noth in the hotel room was disappointingly short, then it all just sort of ended and Gilda was back home again. The sad thing is that even though the basic story is cliche, it still could have made an excellent film. The story itself had so much potential, but the movie did not, in my opinion, reach that potential."
Flawed and disturbing, yet beautifully executed
E. Karasik | Washington, DC United States | 05/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film is impeccably put together, with a fine cast and excellent screenplay. The story combines humor (a young woman named Gilda is obsessed with a sexy older actor, and meanwhile engages in prickly schoolgirl interactions with her mother and grandmother) with pathos (the enormity of dealing with a parent's death). The dialogue rings true and the acting is uniformly inspired. There are some touching meditations on what it is to love a parent and on our relationships with the dead. There is the ever-interesting film-within-a-film subplot as well as, for hard-core Freudians, the phallic symbolism of the video recorder. But the Freudian analysis is laid on very thick: Gilda's Electra complex manifests itself in fantasies involving incest and murder, which threaten to break through into her overt behavior as she stalks and seduces the actor. While the film implies that perhaps this leads to a cathartic resolution of her conflicts, that was not persuasive to me because her character is portrayed as a pretty sick puppy in serious need of psychiatric intervention. Another bone I would pick is that the "paradise" theme is more of a throwaway motif than an integral part of the film (though I did enjoy the shot of bathroom graffiti about "paradice"). But even the underdeveloped theme and unconvincing psychological portrait didn't detract too much from what is in many ways a very intelligent, gutsy, affecting, and refreshing film."
Author Brian Wallace (Mind Transmis | Texas | 06/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"an intriguing film that gradually envelops the viewer and takes one into the interesting and unpredictable mind of its protagonist. At first I thought this was gonna be another one of those now cliched movies that features a character making their own home movie and going nowhere fast. Fortunately, I was pulled into the somewhat disturbed and surreal psychology of this woman and her strange journey. The acting is admirable and one is left being moved by this charming and troubling visionary sojourn."