Le Paradis

The Lost Boys
“In the middle of the lake we’d sometimes see fish trapped in the ice lined up beside one another. I thought they spent the winter there, then woke up in the spring. I thought they came back to life and breathed again, like before.”

In a youth correctional facility, Joe is preparing for his return to society, uncertain as to what life will look like on the other side of the barbed-wire fence. But when new arrival William moves into the cell next door, Joe’s desire for freedom quickly gives way to a desire of another kind. Through camera obscura photography, ink drawing, dance and rap, Joe and William embark on a twin journey of emotional and expressive emancipation, revolving around each other with increasing yearning and despair. This debut feature charts the twists and turns of a passion between two young men who thought their lives had been put on hold and offers an uncompromising vision of love: behind these walls, passion comes first, and liberty only a distant second.
by Zeno Graton
with Khalil Gharbia, Julien de Saint Jean, Eye Haïdara, Jonathan Couzinié, Samuel Di Napoli, Matéo Bastien, Nlandu Lubansu, Amine Hamidou, Terry Ngoga
Belgium / France 2023 French 83’ Colour World premiere | Debut film recommendation: 14 years and up


  • Khalil Gharbia (Joe)
  • Julien de Saint Jean (William)
  • Eye Haïdara (Sophie)
  • Jonathan Couzinié (Ilyas)
  • Samuel Di Napoli (César)
  • Matéo Bastien (Tom)
  • Nlandu Lubansu (Yanis)
  • Amine Hamidou (Fahd)
  • Terry Ngoga (Tiago)


Director Zeno Graton
Screenplay Zeno Graton, Clara Bourreau
Cinematography Olivier Boonjing
Editing Nobuo Coste, Arnaud Batog
Music Bachar Mar-Khalifé
Sound Design Mélissa Petitjean
Sound Romain Cadilhac, Rym Debbarh-Mounir
Production Design Guillaume Orain Audooren
Costumes Tine Deseure
Make-Up Sarah Mescoff
Casting Adélaïde Mauvernay, Sebastiàn Moradiellos
Assistant Director Hélène Karenzo
Production Manager Ben H. Pigeard-Benazera
Producers Valérie Bournonville, Joseph Rouschop, Priscilla Bertin, Judith Nora, Hans Everaert
Executive Producer Marie Darel
Co-Production Silex Films Paris
Menuetto Film Antwerpen

Zeno Graton

Born in Brussels, Belgium in 1990, he studied at the city’s INSAS film school and has written and directed several short films. He also works as a videographer for various theatre companies in Belgium and France. Le Paradis is his debut feature film.


2013 Mouettes (Seagulls); short film 2015 Jay Parmi les Hommes (Jay Amongst Men); short film 2023 Le Paradis (The Lost Boys)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023