...The Place Where ALL Authority is Evil
Hi it's Nykole and welcome to chroma, film, tv. In today's video, I'll be taking a deeper look at the 2019 sci-fi fantasy Paradise Hills. A film of common themes and ominous spiritual metaphors. And without further ado, let's get into it.
As the film opens, we meet Uma, singing during her wedding reception. After her song, she seems hesitant about going to be with her husband and starts talking to party goers instead of going to be with him. Her hesitation is confirmed shortly after, when an employee comes to her to tell her, that her husband shouldn't be kept waiting. After a short trip up the stairs and into a room, we get a glimpse of Uma's new husband, Son and as he speaks "You could be so difficult before, but now, It's as if that girl never existed..." and it starts to become clear why Uma was so hesitant about going to see him.
Shortly after, we're taken to 2 months into the past - where Uma is being held captive in a room with a bed, a mural of nature and a PA system disguised as a wall ornament.
Uma attempts to run away, but is captured and it's discovered shortly after that this place is a rehab facility. Not for drug or alcohol abuse, but a place where upper young ladies are sent when they don't fit in with the rest of their society. The women are there to learn proper etiquette - or at least, this is how it appears initially.
As the film continues We meet other ladies of the facility and learn they've been sent there for varying reasons. Uma is there to be molded into the wife Son wants her to be, despite her hatred for him, Chloe is there to lose weight, Yoon is there to fit in with her wealthy aunt and uncle and Amarna is there because who she wants to fall in love with doesn't jive with the image needed for her celebrity career.
Uma and the other young ladies we meet in the film are members of the Upper society. In this world, there are 2 classes, uppers and lowers. The Uppers are the wealthy members of society and the Lowers are the poor or the less affluent. Uppers that don't fit in with other members of their class are sent to this facility for reprogramming.
Day in and out, the women go to various sessions they have to attend, in order to be quote un quote healed and go back home. These activities involve a make-over session, dance or yoga classes, programming sessions and therapy meetings with the Dutchess -The woman in charge of ensuring everything in the facility runs smoothly.
Over time, the women slowly discover that the facility is not what it appears to be and they've actually been taken there to be studied, in order to be replaced by lowers that have agreed to change their lives and physical appearances by engaging in training and plastic surgeries to take the identity of the Upper they've been paid to replace.
After discovering the truth about the facility, the young ladies made an attempt to escape the island, but only Uma and her copy were successful at getting away and the story ends with the copy inheriting wealth and Uma running into the dark forest cloaked in green.
Excluding the Dutchess, everyone in the facility wears a white uniform. Not only do the women wear the same outfit, they're encouraged to act and think in a similar fashion.
The color white is used in two parts and represents two concepts, the appearance of innocence or purity and a clean slate.
Innocence and purity are two of the attributes that this facility initially appears to instill within the ladies and a clean slate is representative of their identity being cleaned or reprogrammed, in order to make way for the new personality that needs to be shaped.
The Dutchess wears a lot of color, but one that's always included is red or some variation of it. Red hair, red lipstick and some form of red on her attire foreshadows who she turns out to be at the end. Being that she's an authority or a guide also gives a clue about the being or the force her character draws power from.
Class & Facility
As mentioned earlier, there are 2 classes, the Uppers and the Lowers. The uppers have to follow certain protocols by acting and looking a certain way. While the lowers live in poverty willing to undergo procedures to have a chance at a more abundant life.
The facility was a place where the originals were kept, to make time for the lowers to complete their training and plastic surgeries. As the story went, the lowers were willing to complete these painful surgeries to pave a way to make money for their families.
In regards to the class system and how it relates to the real world, we're already seeing a formation of the upper / lower system. Between inflation, the lack of employers willing to match the cost of living and the impact of the C, the middle class is slowly being diminished and eventually, the Upper slash Lower concept will no longer be fictional.
The plastic transformations could relate to how mainstream plastic surgery has become - With those that are willing to change their appearance in order to be in a position to obtain more wealth or recognition, which could be translated into wealth. Ironically, in a pursuit to look different many of those that choose facial and body enhancements end up looking just alike - as they have removed the features that made them unique.
Metaphorically, the facility and the surgeries could represent a warped rebirth. Instead of being reborn spiritually, in the heart and in the mind - the new creature is created based solely on appearances and traditions of the elite. Not actually changing the person organically, but assimilating them to act like everyone else in that society.
If we were to go further down this rabbit hole (which I'm not doing in this video), this could also relate to the facilities we hear of celebrities going to after they've said too much or aren't acting in a way that's acceptable to their handlers.
The Garden & The Dutchess
The Garden or the vineyard is not seen till the end of the film when we see Chloe, Uma and her copy attempt to escape. Appearing to be a wonderous place initially, it turns out to be the place where the originals are suffocated until their spirit leaves them - allowing the copy to take their place without anyone knowing otherwise.
The dutchess is the one that caries out therapy sessions with the young women, but we only see her interactions with Uma. The dutchess acts as a mother figure, claiming to be a support system for the ladies, but Uma doesn't care for her and does very little to make progress during her sessions.
The Dutchess is a mother figure, and in psychology, mythology and in some religions, the mother or the mother figure represents a certain theme or archetype. Sophia, Mother nature or even a garden in films commonly represents some form of redemption or a need for redemption
The film represents the dutchess as form of redemption for the women, offering them a way to change or turn themselves around by doing what she told them to do.
Unlike the real redeemer that gives free will, she rules with an iron fist covered in a velvet glove appearing to be caring until her true intentions are seen.
She could be a metaphor for the elite or government as she has authority over the residents, but she also represents a being with a source of supernatural power and has the appearance of light while being filled with darkness.
Something I noticed when watching this film was how unorganized and discombobulated the story seemed to be. Before I could get to the underlying message, I had to sift through all the other points thrown at me, which brought to mind a declassified CIA tactic, the Alice in wonderland aka confusion technique.
With this technique, a person is taken through a series of mind games to confuse and break them, causing the person to completely break down and accept the narrative provided, even if it goes against what they already know to be true. For those that aren't able to wake up from the programming, there is a mental split, leaving the subject vulnerable as they may be unable to decipher fantasy from reality.
An example of this technique was shown after one of Uma's sessions, where she states that the footage they showed her wasn't true and she asked why they were showing it to her.
A metaphorical example of Uma's mental break or split can be seen closer to the end of the film, where Uma and her copy escape. The other young women involuntarily succumbed to their programming and in some form, became the people the handlers wanted them to be.
Uma and her copy were able to break away leading to the copy being accepted by the upper society and the original running off into the wilderness after getting rid of her husband. In Uma's mind she was helping the copy by getting rid of the copies future oppressor, Son,
but based on the film, the copy wasn't her clone, so the copy may have been happy with the husband but the delusional, revenge seeking original took that from her...acting as though she would still be impacted by Son after the original and the copy went their separate ways.
In terms of this technique and as it relates to the effect on the viewer, Uma is taken through several confusing and unrelated experiences. Her unfruitful meetings with the dutchess, mind numbing programming sessions, unnecessary love stories, lackluster sci-fi elements and the need to escape, gives a feeling of immense confusion - lending proof that this film is more about the subliminal than the countless, unnecessary and conflicting elements of the plot.
At first glance, this film comes off as a stepford wife-esq, barely sci-fi fairytale with a light weight plot, but it hides a more sinister message that has an impact on the subconcious mind, while the conscious is distracted with sub-plots and vibrant imagery.
On the surface, the film tells a story about young women that were forced to become something else for the sake of their wealthy families intertwined within another a story filled with back and forth scenarios that could leave the viewer unaware of the deceitful message underneath...reject authority, especially if it appears pure.
We're shown a world of the elite and their disdain for those who aren't like them. We're also shown the levels some lowers will go in order to gain the benefits of wealthy society. But a point that stuck out for me was rebellion against authority. In this world, all authority is evil. The families, her fiancé', Son, the dutchess, the facility staff and even a boyfriend that she once considered her true love are all representations of some form of authority that she rejected...either because she didn't like what was being asked of her or because she felt they betrayed her in some way.
Topically, and as this relates to our world today, we're also given authority figures that could remind us of some of these characters. Some mean well and have good intentions, but unfortunately some are wolves in sheep's clothing - appearing gracious and caring, while giving us commands that they know are a detriment to our health or well-being. The film exploits this idea and instead of there being a balance, it shows leadership as a negative.
In spiritual terms and in my opinion, the film is a clear attack on the authority of the Most High and what a true relationship with him looks like. Instead of purity of the spirit, purity is only in the outer appearance. Instead of paradise being heaven, it's shown as prison disguised as a beautiful place, and instead of free will, authority is carried out with an iron fist covered in a velvet glove and ironically, the one that would be responsible for taking care of her for the rest of her life has the name "Son".
The idea of authority being rejected is also echoed at the end of the film. In the ending scene, Uma takes out Son, before running off into the wilderness cloaked in green. The cloak itself is reminiscent of secret orders or societies, used here to express the influence she's under. She also runs into a dark forest, with the night representing darkness or evil and the forest representing wilderness or being lost. The color of her cloak and the forest are also green which metaphorically represents rebirth, or renewal.
In short, the film has flipped the idea of what is pure and turned it dark. Essentially calling good evil and evil good, planting a seed in the unsuspecting mind of the viewer that authority is bad and your own way is better - even if you're lost.
Whether people choose to believe it or not, there is a spiritual battle, a war waged against us for our hearts and our minds and this film follows suit - as does every hollyweird film.
If you're interested in any of the topics I mentioned in this video, links to sources will be in the description box. and, On that note, Peace.
Some may believe that the definition of perfection is to be perfect in the eyes of others. On the contrary, true perfection is about striving for excellence to be ones' perfect self. So, if we're prompted to rebel against perfection, what are we really encouraged to rebel against?
Alice in Wonderland aka Confusion Technique
Alice in Wonderland Summary by the Obscurantist
Carl Jung - Mother/Garden Metaphor (The Mother Archetype)
This video was inspired by a biblical verse about the façade of goodness on the outside, while being vile hypocrite on the inside:
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.