Private Project


For the three workers of the company “Styx“ it is everyday business: living in the company van and driving overland to get from one place and time of death to the next – terminating people, packaging them and sending them off. They live a monotone life doing their daily chores for a society that developed a pain-free system for people’s passings. Suddenly, the three find themselves confronted with their own termination and start to question and bend the rules of their world.

  • Immanuel Esser
  • Immanuel Esser
  • Matthias Sahli
  • Angelo Wemmje
  • Immanuel Esser
  • Philipp Künzli
  • Renate Mihatsch
  • Franziska Machens
    Key Cast
  • Holger Daemgen
    Key Cast
  • Johannes Kühn
    Key Cast
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
    Feature, Student
  • Genres:
    Roadmovie, Black comedy
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 20 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 21, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    55,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
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  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Filmfesitval Max Ophüls Preis
    January 21, 2020
    German Premiere
Director Biography - Immanuel Esser

Immanuel Esser studied philosophy in Berlin before turning to film. Focusing on thought experiments, political philosophy and aesthetics, he wrote his thesis on stylized worlds and their benefit for insight and enlightenment. After several short fiction films, PARADIES is his first feature film. It was produced at the film school he is currently attending: the University of Media Arts Cologne.

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Director Statement

In 1896 Hugo Simberg painted a watercolour titled IN THE GARDEN OF DEATH. Three Grim Reapers in black robes fulfill the gloomy expectations of the title. But the peculiarity of this small work lies in the way they pursue the peaceful and profane activity of gardening. They are likable – but don’t loose their status as memento mori. In this way Simberg stimulates an examination of our mortality, which I believe is worth exploring. With PARADISE we approach the dark theme of death in this playful sense. We think, that the absurd is an important way of thinking and can be fruitfully used to approach existential questions. In filmic terms: looking at another fictional and stylized world and how it deals with this inevitable end of our physical being, we sometimes recognize unexpected parallels and caricatures of our own world. In PARADISE we accompany three protagonists on this mental and physical journey, dealing with other’s and their own mortality. We discover structural similarities to the efforts of own society to control the process of dying by confining it to hospital beds accompanied by the administration of drugs. And the emptiness and artificiality of their world, which initially stands in stark contrast to our world, becomes the lens for a reflective view of current developments in the world of work.