6 July 2001 | bernsteintoby
A fictionalized story of early rain forest activist Niels Vesterberg and his love affair with Karen Mogensen
Despite production problems and the unfortunate miscasting of the female lead, "A Corner of Paradise" is a heart-warming, poignant love story that seems to persist with the viewer long after an initial screening. While sometimes slow, the film is visually breath-taking and hypnotic. Samuel Froeler -Sweden's leading actor - along with comely Penelope Cruz and veteran John Savage turn in strong performances. The plot of the film is based on the true story of Niels Vesterberg whose exploits of trying to save the rain forests in Cost Rica and losing his life in the process, has been recognized by the Costa Rican government via a dedication of a national preserve in his honor.
The fictionalized account follows Froeler's journey together with his girlfriend from Stockholm to Costa Rica following Froeler's dishonorable dismissal from the Swedish army and the rejection of his masters' thesis by his academic committee. Once in Costa Rica, Froeler commences his botanical research and ultimately discovering that the rain forests (and its Indian inhabitants) are being eradicated by land barons using Dioxin (Agent Orange! --long before its widespread use during the Vietnam War).
Predictably, Froeler throws himself into the fray trying to stop the land barons and save the Indians, complicated by his relations with his girlfriend and the alluring Penelope Cruz, daughter of one of the largest Land Barons. While losing his life in the end, Froeler's character is rewarded by having a national forest named after him and the adoption of preservation measure by the Costa Rican regime.
"A corner of Paradise" has won a number of awards, and has captivated the hearts and minds of film directors like Ridley Scott and Luc Besson. Worth Seeing!