BLUE BANKS / Romania
Andreea Borțun is a Romanian writer/director. She is a graduate of screenwriting at UNATC, Bucharest, having also studied philosophy and modern art at BARD College Berlin and Bucharest University. Andreea had her directorial debut with the short film “Blue Spring”, which was selected in 2015 for the official competition of the 40th Toronto International Film Festival. Her second short, ”Love Locker” won the Berlinale Talents & Canon Short Prize Award as well as the France 3 Award (Paris Courts Devant). She is the co-founder of Pustnik, an international screenwriters residency that takes place every year in Romania.
Andreea recently received development funding for her first feature “Blue Banks” and production funding for her newest short. “Blue Banks” has been developed during Less is More 2019.
A never ending winter
Lavinia has recently separated from her boyfriend, Marian. Whether she left him or he left her, is unclear to the community and Lavinia prefers it this way. She lives with her 13 year old son, Dani, in an abandoned house that belongs to her distanced father. The place is mostly a mess. Dani is a silent boy, witty at times, when he’s not taken over by anxiety, an unexpressed child living in his own mind. His silence makes him weird for the community and even for his mother.
Knowing how to get back unpaid debts, Lavinia asks the mayor for an extra job at the village pig farm, motivating she wants to built a bathroom in the decrepit house she now lives in. As most of the things she wants, she gets the job. However she miscalculates. When Lavinia realises the costs for the bathroom are way more expensive, she doesn’t lose hope, but she loses focus. She buys a flat TV. Lavinia hates silence.
A much awaited spring
Lavinia divides herself between night shifts at the oil park and day hours at the pig farm, where sister Elena seems to be on a constant mission of “straightening” Lavinia up and bring her on the Lord’s path. Lavinia knows how to oppose resistance. Even though work is exhausting, she never looses her spirits.
Every once in a while Marian and Dani spend time together, without Lavinia having much to do about it. Dani finds comfort in Marian, as in an older friend.
The plan to leave and work abroad has been growing inside Lavinia’s mind for a long time now – an opportunity to renovate her house, to build a bathroom, maybe even a new floor. When she finally steps on her pride and goes to her distanced father to tell him she wants to leave to the West, she is met with coldness and lack of support. He doesn\’t support her decision to leave, believing the work migration breaks the natural bonds of family. He is
unwilling to sign over the property papers for the house Lavinia wants to renovate with the money from abroad and he laments he can not take care of Dani while Lavinia will be away.
However Lavinia doesn’t give up. She finds work in Marseille. Without Dani agreeing, Lavinia leaves her son with his biological father Florin, while working in Marseille.
A coming of age summer
Dani is left alone with a father that’s mostly a stranger, in a town close by to his village. Florin is the only father he knows how to be, an authoritative figure, stricter than Lavinia ever was. Dani’s dreaming nature begins to shift towards an adaptability pragmatism.
Not feeling comfortable at Florin, nor with the city life, Dani begins to spend his days back and forth between the town and the village. Soon his childhood games and isolating nature are replaced by friends and work. He enjoys the perks of playing the adult, with all its benefits, mainly the freedom he gains while being in the village all day. Meanwhile he
receives videos from Lavinia. Marseille proves to work out for her – at least that’s the image she projects. She even seems to have found a man from the same village. She plans to bring Dani with her to France and try to live there. In the village Dani spends more and more time with Marian.
An autumn of acceptance
When Marian dies of a second stroke, weeks after the first one, Lavinia is forced to return home. She finds her son washing Marian’s lifeless body along with the men. Even though her intentions were to return to Marseille, she decides to stay for a while. Dani doesn’t wish to join her abroad and this time his opinion matters. With the money she raised, she manages to built the bathroom and begins construction on a first floor, despite the workers fear the land will not hold.
\”Blue Banks\” is a chronicle movie that tells the story of Lavinia, a young woman from the Romanian rural South, in the course of four seasons.Lavinia lives in a world in which she feels she is constantly wronged, robbed of her rights,of what she should be entitled to receive.She’s in a place of in-between where ambitions are high and unrealistic.
One of the things that I became interested in while researching and developing this story is the relation between the fantasies people create in their own minds and how those fantasies manage to crush their realities. This is connected to the way in which the spirit of the rural is changing. With the influence of media and labour migration,women in even the most remote parts of the world begin to mimic Western ways of living,thinking and desiring. This usually ends up creating conflicts with their own reality.
The main inspiration for this project has been the Romanian South and its women,the place where I was born and raised and also the place I kept running away from till very recently. When I started the research I found myself in a very conflictual position:on one side as someone that belongs to that world and needs to protect it and on the other as somebody who looked down on it, looking at it with prejudice.I believe this is a conflict that comes from a lack of fully understanding the other:whether be it the western perception on its immigrants,its lack of exercise sometimes in imagining their homes,the families they left behind.I believe this division comes from a fear of the unknown.If these people’s lives would be more visible,on screen,in the press,the hate speech and the division between the urban and the rural,between the immigrant and its hosts,would maybe not be as present.
Cinemascope and social realism hardly seem made for each other. There aren’t many films that manage to mix these two,but one that has stayed in my mind is “Il momento della verita” (Francesco Rosi).I would like to use the anamorphic lenses for the beautiful landscapes of the South and at the same time to be able to give it a twist and convey the raw realism of Lavinia’s world by combining it with hand held camera.I believe that by using handheld camera in a cinemascope format I will also be able to convey strong close ups of Lavinia, that on such a wide screen makes faces look larger than life-and Lavinia is larger than life.
Nature and the changing rhythms of the weather will create an atmospheric film that can challenge the viewer in a visceral way. One which is at once visual, auditory, metaphorical, poetic and political.The natural elements in the film (an enraged bull that has escaped a farm nearby, the raw and rough animal market, a lost deer on the field, the death of Marian) are not meant to act as symbolic elements precisely because they are uncontrollable and unpredictable.Nature represents also a form of chaos and imbalance.
Production company: Atelier de Film, Films de Force Majeure, Perfo d.o.o.
Co-producers: Films de Force Majeure [fr], IKH Pictures Promotion [pl]
Planned shooting: March 2021
Release: Planned for 2024