Films & Schedules

  • PA-RA-DA

  • Marco Pontecorvo

French, Romanian
100 minutes

Production Company:
Panorama Films/Yalla Films/Domino Film
Marco Valerio Pugini, Ute Leonhardt
Marco Pontecorvo, Roberto Tiraboschi
Production Designer:
Paola Bizzarri
Vincenzo Carpineta
Alessio Doglione
Maurizio Argentieri
Andrea Guerra
Principal Cast: Jalil Jespert, Evita Ciri, Gabriel Rauta, Patrice Juiff, Robert Valeanu

International Sales Agent:
Beta Cinema

TIFF Tags: Poverty  Coming Of Age/Youth 

Wednesday September 1006:00PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 4 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Friday September 1203:30PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1312:30PM VARSITY 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Marco Pontecorvo, son of the distinguished filmmaker Gillo Pontecorvo (director of the classic The Battle of Algiers), makes his own feature directing debut with a gritty tale of street life in Bucharest. PA-RA-DA is a brave and uncompromising film about a Frenchman who decides to leave the security and safety of Paris to help strung-out, homeless street kids in Romania.

The children in question are sleeping in abandoned sewers, emerging every day to ply their trade. Some prostitute themselves to earn money and use drugs to dull the boredom, remaining deeply mistrustful of outsiders. Attaching himself to an NGO but working as an independent operator, Miloud decides to gain their trust through unconventional means. Trained as a clown, he first gets their attention through the simple device of magic. When this opens the door, he challenges the children to participate in increasingly intricate games, and then attempts to socialize them. He takes the boys to the local baths, shows them how to buy – instead of steal – food, and tries to instill a sense of respect and discipline in their lives. Gradually, he makes inroads and apparent progress.

The drama accelerates when one of the young girls discovers she is pregnant, and does not want to have an abortion or give up the baby. Miloud soon learns that even good intentions are open to misinterpretation – especially since he is an outsider and not particularly welcomed by the local authorities, who should be dealing with the problems themselves.

Pontecorvo uses a cast of non-professionals. All of the children come from the streets, and the power of the film lies in its documentary roots. But what also distinguishes PA-RA-DA is the tension between this very real world and the sense of play and fiction that the foreigners – Pontecorvo as much as Miloud – bring to the table. This constant interaction acts as a spine for the drama of this provocative work.

Piers Handling

Marco Pontecorvo was born in Rome and has worked extensively as a cinematographer. He made his first short, Ore 2: Calma piatta, in 2003. PA-RA-DA (08) is his first feature.

Cadillac People's Choice Award