PA-RA-DA Marco Pontecordo

PA-RA-DA Marco Pontecordo
Marco Pontecordo’s PA-RA-DA is the story of a French-Algerian man who decides to quit his middle-class Parisian surroundings for the abandoned sewers of Bucharest. No, he’s not crazy (or at least, not entirely); his one goal is to help get the homeless kids of Bucharest off the streets.

With the support of an NGO, Miloud proves to be an extremely driven and resourceful individual. He uses his training as a clown and circus performer to win over even the toughest street kids and eventually teaches them the skills to become performers themselves.

Set in 1993, PA-RA-DA depicts the harsh and often disturbing realities of life on the streets of Bucharest. Girls of little more than 12 years old offer themselves up for prostitution, while boys live off of stealing in train stations. They live in abandoned sewers and sniff glue to forget about their miserable boredom. PA-RA-DA exposes these gritty details of street life with skill and eloquence, and is able to fully demonstrate the misery that these children go through.

The film is based on the true account of the creation of "Fundatia PARADA” in 1994, an organisation that continues to work today on the reinsertion of marginalized children into society through training in circus performing. What is most impressive about the film is Pontecordo’s decision to cast all non-professional actors, particularly street kids in the roles of the children, in the film. This lends a particularly fresh feel that at times, borders on the realism of a documentary.

The only fault of this heart-warming tale is that it’s a little bit too heart-warming and therefore predictable. This said, the film is an incredible piece of work, giving you a look at a world you’ve probably never seen before. (Panorama)