Director Mahmoodreza Esmaili Zand brings us a short drama in The Paradise. It is a tale of youth, rebellion and friendship told against the backdrop of the harsh and restrictive upbringing of two young girls.
Thematically, The Underground Empire explores human progress and how humans and the natural world are both entwined with each other and yet also often diametrically opposed to one another on a fundamental level. The film suggests this has always been the case and always will be. It’s the sort of theme that could be applied to many things and with the topic of climate change looming large, it certainly provides food for thought.
The film is almost completely silence throughout the majority of its run time, with only the ambient sounds of nature such as babbling brook of the wind shaking tree branches making up the film’s soundscape. It’s an effective way of capturing the typical quiet solitude of a hike and it is quite immersive in this way. When a musical score does kick in for the film’s final scene, its all the more effective for its absence.