Production company: Atelier de Film [ro]
Co-producers: Films de Force Majeure [fr], IKH Pictures Promotion [pl]
Planned shooting – March 2021
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.
Lavinia is a 30-year-old woman living with her son, Dani (13), and her Roma partner, Marian, in a poor village on the banks of the Danube. Even if they are not married and Marian is not the biological father of the boy, the man has become attached to Dani, representing a more present parental figure than Lavinia.
When Lavinia, constrained by circumstances, decides to take Dani to his biological father, while she and Marian will be away working abroad for the summer, Marian feels betrayed and jealous. Enraged, he kicks Lavinia out of the house. The plan to work abroad fails. Lavinia tries to comfort herself: abandoned at the age of eighteen, caring a baby with no father, she mindlessly jumped into Marian’s arms. Lavinia was always dissatisfied, always knowing she deserved something better.
Now Lavinia has to move with Dani in her grandparents’ abandoned house. In an attempt to stay away from a son with whom she can’t emotionally communicate, who is angry for having been separated from Marian, Lavinia finds herself exhausted by work, going after a second chance to leave abroad, in France, and renovate her family’s old house. Along with Emil (21), Lavinia allows herself to live a teenage love story she never had the chance to, having had Dani at a very early age. In an impulsive enthusiasm, she proposes Emil they leave together for work in Marseilles, keeping it a secret from Dani. The boy gets terribly upset when he wakes up without his mother, having to go with his biological father, a stranger, to live for three months in a town nearby. After two weeks of refusing any communication with his mother, the boy runs away to Marian.
Dani begins to work in the village, living two weeks of absolute childhood bliss and freedom. This all ends when he meets Emil, who has returned earlier to the village. He receives the news he and Lavinia have separated. She will stay in Marseille more than planned. Dani finally talks to Lavinia. She promises to bring him to France. The boy refuses and accuses her of doing this out of selfishness – she now feels lonely and abandoned.
Very shortly Marian suffers a vascular accident. He becomes paralyzed. Lavinia has found an easier job, she hopes to return in spring and fix the legal aspects for Dani’s departure. However, when Marian dies of a stroke back home, Lavinia has to return to the country, hoping she’s going to get the approval from Dani’s biological father. Dani wants to come with her to Marseille. However, Lavinia does not receive the paternal approval. Dani is disappointed and angry. Lavinia’s fantasies have contaminated him as well. She is now stuck in a loop, hoping to find a way to bring her boy with her. Until then she is forced to confront the bitterness of the only possible life she can have – a child that now hates her, having felt abandoned and with his dreams crushed, a house that can not support the construction of a new floor and that begins to landslide and new debts she needs to pay back.
“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 the realities they disregard but still inhabit. This point is very much connected to the way in which the spirit of the rural is changing. With the influence of media and labor 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 that reality, disregarding its values and diminishing the force of its spirit. I believe this is a conflict that comes from the lack of 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, or even the urban population’s perception on its own fellow people coming from the rural side, often considered to be “below”. This division comes I believe from a fear of the unknown. So I thought 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 strong.