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Maria's Paradise

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Category: Entertainment
Start date: 01 May 2020 06:00 PM
End date: 01 May 2020 08:30 PM
Street / Location: 58 Park Avenue
City / town: New York
Country: New York, USA
Organizer: Scandinavia House
Email: chelsea@amscan.org
Phone: 212.847.9729
Homepage: www.scandinaviahouse.org/events/marias-paradise/

Film Screening: Maria's Paradise, directed by Zaida Bergroth (Finland, 2019)

Orphaned at a young age, Salome is among the many devoted followers of Maria Åkerblom, a charismatic seer who claims that God visits her in her dreams. Living in a commune in a rural farmhouse, where she spends her days looking after the younger children in the cult, Salome has also never experienced life outside of their sheltered existence. But when one day she accompanies Maria on a trip to town, Salome meets Malin, an irreverent and cynical street girl who shares Salome’s motherless background.

When Malin reaches out to Salome for help, the two develop a friendship that eventually brings her to the commune. When Malin quickly sees through Maria's ruse, Salome is inspired to question her leader's teachings for the very first time; and she must learn to choose between the promise of newfound freedom, and Maria's dangerous all-consuming love.

An intense, intelligent and often chilling study of cults, based on a scandal that took place in Finland in the 1920s, Maria's Paradise holds up a not-so-distant mirror to our own time, reminding us that demagoguery - whether religious, political, or often a twisted combination of the two - is still very much with us.