THE LOST PARADISE – A MEMOIR OF A STOLEN TIME BY PAUL DE MÉTAIRY

Directed by Paul De Métairy / Reviewed by Biplab Das

The Lost Paradise is like a reminder of a cherished time that can’t be experienced in present-day Belgium. The film is a collection of multiple video footage of a happy time when the protagonist of the film, (me), spending time with his friends who are younger than him. Shot in an 8mm camera, the sepia-toned, tainted look of the film is one of the USPs of the film. However, the infamous Dutroux affair in Belgium has changed the entire scenario of what the director termed as a happy time. Since the Dutroux affair, it has become impossible or maybe forbidden to explore those happy times.

The movie depicts how (me) takes care of cats, dogs all his life. His love for animals is poignantly captured in the film. Children, younger than him, also become friends with him naturally. He spends a large amount of time with children at their houses or boats. The director of the film, Paul de Métairy, is fortunate enough of photographing or filming them. Some shots were captured at a very close range and few from a distance. The entire span of filming the subjects took 10 years to complete. Some meetings lasted for just a single day and others took 10 years to complete.

The images or video footage of complicity with these beautiful children would be unthinkable in today’s time because of the Dutroux affair. The director thinks that the magical era is over. The director also lamented that the remaining cats, which stay with (me), will someday be forbidden. He will not be able to love those cats. Cats play an important role in his life. Mother cats consider him as the guardian of the kittens. His place is the right shelter for her babies.

But he also believes in a distant future, he will meet those friends who have lost their lives. People such as Leon, Michel, Didier, Nadine, and Alex- all have died at a very tender age. He also wants to meet the dogs- Mirabelle and Rocky along with his adorable cats. He firmly believes that in the next world, probably life after death, all of them are waiting for him. He also believes that there love will not be considered a crime against humanity.

The Lost Paradise is a rare documentary for all the nostalgic people of that period who lived a simple and fun-filled life. The memories and nostalgia of a long-gone time are perfectly shown in the documentary. The documentary is primarily made for the young generations who are unaware of such a time. The montages are so well stitched in the documentary in a creative fashion. 

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