Today at the Chicago International Film Festival: ‘Paradise’

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Julia Vysotskaya in “Paradise.”

The Chicago International Film Festival continues through Oct. 27 at AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois.

In “Paradise,” Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky ponders the idea of paradise amidst the Holocaust. Characters cite both communist and Nazi visions of the ideal society. Konchalovsky once said Jesus Christ is the most popular hero of mass culture.

Konchalovsky (“The Inner Circle,” “Runaway Train”) more recently directed “The Nutcracker in 3D.” Set in 1920s Vienna, that PG-rated film trivialized Auschwitz. “Paradise” atones for that mistake.

Three fates are linked: a French policeman rounding up Jews, a German officer of noble lineage who name-drops Nietzsche as kin, and Olga (Julia Vysotskaya), a Russian aristocrat in the French Resistance. She is caught hiding two Jewish boys and sent to a concentration camp.

Clad in matching outfits, the three will appear seated alone at a table recounting their their choices and deeds. This footage is made to look archival, with dust and scratches. Who is listening is a revelation saved for the last 10 seconds. 3 p.m. Oct. 19.

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