Three kilometers to the end of the world by Emanuel Parvu, in Official Competition: Our verdict

Published by Manon de Sortiraparis · Published on May 18th, 2024 at 08:33 p.m.
Romanian director Emanuel Parvu has entered the official competition at Cannes 2024 with Three Kilometers to the End of the World. Find out what we think.

A newcomer to Cannes in the Official Competition, Romanian director Emanuel Parvu unveiled his third feature, Three Kilometers to the End of the World, a harsh film about the outcasting and attempted grooming of a young homosexual in a remote village in Romania's Danube Delta.

The bracing air and verdant landscapes of these remote regions had all the makings of a lovely spring fable. And that's what makes what happens next all the more revolting. Young Adi(Ciprian Chiujdea) comes out of a nightclub and encounters a boy in a scene that, while tactile, some would say perfectly harmless. When he returns home, Adi's face and body are swollen. We learn, along with his parents, that he has been beaten up because of his homosexuality, hitherto kept secret.

And so begins a period that is unbearable for the young man, and unthinkable in this day and age - and yet the film is set in the present day. The film alternates between the father and his more or less sonorous attempts to understand why his son has come to love men, the mother who tries to blame the situation on alcohol, the father of the aggressors who supports his own children and their act of 'bravery' for the salvation and wholesomeness of society, or the local priest, who wonders whether this deviance is the result of vaccination against Covid and recommends placing a Bible under Adi's pillow to extract the evil spirit.

Emanuel Parvu films a sick and yet so ordinary society, entangled in beliefs from another time, shaped by the gaze of others and the fear of the neighbor's denunciation, tortured by corruption at every level, right down to the gendarmes, more inclined to excuse the facts - and even seek to cover them up - than to find and judge the aggressors. The tragedy and shame that fall upon the family are matched only by the violence of the words Adi receives, already shattered by the physical clashes.

Locked away (in the most literal sense, in his room), he is an unwilling actor in a violent and brutal exorcism scene, at the request of his parents, with the complicity of the priest. To further contrast with this hellish scene, the Romanian director opts for the most academic mise-en-scène, playing with the edges of the frame to convey the hopes of the young man caught at fault and capture the low masses of the executioners.

Faced with this predicted catastrophe, the film offers a glimmer of hope in the form of young Ilinca(Ingrid Micu Berescu), his betrothed turned confidante, who helps him take a deep breath and escape without looking back.

Practical information

Dates and Opening Time
Starts October 16th, 2024

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