Cannes 2024: Director Emanuel Pârvu Discusses His Queer Palm-Winning Film: ‘Three Kilometers to the End of the World’

Landon Johnson sits down with filmmaker Emanuel Pârvu during the Cannes Film Festival to discuss his latest feature film, Three Kilometers to the End of the World.

Three Kilometers to the End of the World received the prestigious Queer Palm at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival, under the leadership of jury president Lukas Dhont. During the festival, I had the opportunity to speak with director Emanuel Pârvu about this powerful and harrowing film.

Three Kilometers to the End of the World is a gripping drama centered on a brutal hate crime that reveals deep-seated corruption and cruelty within a small Romanian village. Actor-turned-director Emanuel Pârvu delves into the aftermath of a homophobic assault, exploring the event’s impact from various perspectives in what can only be described as a powerful empathy machine. 

Explaining the Title

One of the first questions I asked Pârvu was why he chose the title. “I think if we keep going like this, we are three kilometers away from hell. Society is going in the wrong direction, in my opinion,” the actor-turned-director explained. “I think we are going in the right direction as a society, but I don’t think we are going at the right speed. We are going slowly. If we are going to improve things, let’s talk it over and go faster. Why are we putting the garbage under the mattress? Let’s bring it up,” he added. Pârvu went on to explain that while he himself is not a member of the LGBT community, he is male, white, and has “all the benefits that a European company can offer me. And from my position, I can critique everything in society,” he continued.

On What Inspired Him to Create Adi’s Character

Pârvu recounted that there was a rape case in his country where seven men raped a 15-year-old girl. “And the whole society of that village turned against the victim by asking questions like, ‘Why was she wearing that dress?’ You’re not supposed to think like this,” he exclaimed. “She can wear whatever she wants to wear. So, I think we have a lot to improve,” he asserted.

The Focus on Family Affairs

“I think the most powerful form of love is between a parent and a child,” he explained. “I think love is love. And we should discuss the perspective. Love should be unconditional. But if it becomes conditional, then we can debate about it. Why? My family always took my side. I did a lot of things growing up, but my family always took my side and provided a safety net. When the family is not around you, I think that’s a very hard thing to endure,” he reflected.

See Also: Cannes 2024 Review: ‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ – George Miller’s Most Ambitious Project Yet

On Selecting the Conservative Danube Delta in Romania for the Location

“It’s the only place in Romania where you can have two worlds colliding,” he mentioned. “They have a film festival there. But it’s the only place where you can find a 19th-century mentality. You have three kilometers of no man’s land and then the seashore where the world ends and the sea starts. But for three months during the summertime, it’s the coolest, most hipsterish place on the seaside. And those two worlds are so separated. The 19th-century mentality meets with the younger, progressive mentality. We needed that specific place,” he noted.

On What He Hopes Audiences Will Take from the Film

“A lot of questions. In my opinion, just talking, I think putting up a mirror and asking, ‘Do you like who you are?’ And when they do that, it makes them question themselves. ‘Am I wrong for thinking this way? Can I improve? Can I improve society? Let’s improve. Let’s do things better for our children,’” he remarked.

SPOILER ALERT – On the Ending

“I wouldn’t have the heart to put my parents in jail. I would rather look at you as my parent and forget you ever existed. Adi leaves on a narrow canal that opens up to a bigger canal as he gets further away, as displayed with a continuous shot. Then his whole life opens up in front of him. And we start with a dawn and end with a sunset even though the film takes place over a week,” he concluded.

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