Actor-turned-director Emanuel Pârvu is facing a busy September, heading to Venice Film Festival with Bogdan George Apetri’s “Miracle,” set to premiere in the Horizons section, and then San Sebastian with his own second feature, “Mikado,” chosen for the New Directors showcase.
This week, he presents his third project as a director, “Three Miles to the End of the World,” in the CineLink Co-Production Market in Sarajevo, where his 2017 feature debut “Meda or the Not So Bright Side of Things” claimed prizes for best director and actor. Produced by his regular collaborator, Miruna Berescu of the FAMart Association, and aiming to shoot in 2023, the film will zoom in on a gay teenager trapped in a village in the Danube Delta. Ostracized by his local community but also his parents, he has no place to go. Literally.
“There is nowhere to escape – you just end up at a seashore,” says Pârvu, referring to the titular “end of the world.” “In the first part of the film, the kid gets beaten up and the family doesn’t know why. His father takes action, but then he finds out that someone in the village saw him kissing another boy. After that, everything changes.”
“Obsessed” with family relations, which he likes to explore in his work, Pârvu will also focus on small communities, still driven by fear of shame.
“Shame is a powerful tool in our society and I think we need to address it. If your husband beats you, don’t put on make-up and smile at your neighbors – go to the police. If women or people of different sexualities would speak out more, maybe the world would evolve,” he wonders, pointing out that religion also plays a part in such marginalization.
“In our country, which is Orthodox, it’s hard to accept other sexualities. Most priests don’t, saying that being gay is a disease. When the boy’s mother goes to the church, that’s what she hears: “Take him to the hospital and put a Bible under his pillow at night.” Some of my friends told me these lines are funny, but it’s a dark laugh. I am a very religious person, but as far as I know, God tells us to love each other. Where does it say that when someone is gay, you don’t love them?!”
The Bucharest-born helmer – who has worked in theater and television (“the biggest mistake of my life,” he says), and has appeared in the likes of Cristian Mungiu’s “Graduation” and Apetri’s “Unidentified” – values naturalistic acting. Also because this time, he was inspired by a true story of a 16-year-old girl, raped in a Moldavian village by seven boys. Instead of seeking justice, her father made a financial deal with the perpetrators, allowing them to walk free.
“They attacked her because she was wearing a mini skirt – that was the argument. I am a father as well, my daughter is 11, and I can’t understand how you can accept money when someone hurts your child like that. This is what happens in my film too – the boy’s father makes a similar arrangement,” he says, calling the story “the most violent” he has ever written.
“And to think I was convinced that ‘Mikado’ will be my darkest! In that film, even the camera movements are aggressive, although everybody means well. Usually, the main battle is between good and evil. But to me, the battle between good and good is even more interesting. I want to do good; you want to do good. So how come people are dying?”