Three Kilometres to the End of the World (2024) Cannes Film Festival

May 17th, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Emanuel Parvu. Romania. Drama. 104 mins.

The past and the present collide in this straightforward Romanian melodrama, a third feature for filmmaker/actor Emanuel Parvu, and his first time in the main competition at the 77th Edition of Cannes Film Festival.

17-year-old Adi (Ciprian Chiujdea) is back from Bucharest to spend the summer with his God-fearing parents in their idyllic painted wooden house on the edge of the Danube. The young man has everything going for him: looks, intelligence and a good start in life. Until he suffers a savage attack on the way to the village disco, the future looked bright.

The action unfolds in a simple chronological way with strong performances all round: you may recognise Adi’s father Bogdan Dumitrache from his brilliant performance in Spiral and A Decent Man. This is Chiujdea’s feature debut and he feels convincing as a young man determined to get on in life despite his overbearing mother (Laura Vasiliu).

Shocked at the severity of Adi’s wounds his parents decide to file a complaint with the local police. But this is a small, tightly-knit community and the culprit is soon identified as the son of another local man to whom the father owes money. What also emerges is that this is a gay-bashing. And it doesn’t there with bitter repercussions as the parents remain in denial of their son’s sexuality, blaming his life in the big city, and hoping that a spell in a monastery will ‘sort him out’.

The story has its twists and turns which often feel rather uneventful but gain resonance in Parvu and his co-writer Miruna Berescu’s clever script. Three Kilometres is also made all the more watchable by the enchanting settings and some superb limpid visuals that create a real wonderland of this rural paradise in the Danube Delta, a throwback in time. @MeredithTaylor.




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