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To the North — Young Critics Workshop

To the North (Mihai Mincan, 2022)


Under a solitary starry sky, two young men lost in dreams bigger than themselves sneak into a cargo ship ready to leave for the ocean. One of the two, Giorgi, a Bulgarian, is immediately taken out on captain’s orders as soon as his presence on the ship is discovered. The other boy, Dumitru, of Romanian origin, will be forced to go into hiding until he arrives in Canada, unless he wants to end up like his friend. To help him in this endeavour will be Joel, a Filipino bosun of deep religious faith. This story, loosely inspired by a real event that happened in 1996, serves as a pretext for a universal parable about the impossibility of communication, in which the characters are understood as symbols rather than real people. Romanian director Mihai Mincan seems mainly interested in exploring the relationship between micro and macro, both thematically and visually—the close-up faces of the characters, trapped in claustrophobic spaces, fill the screen, while conversely the shots of the boundless ocean make even the ship seem small—but, lost in the midst of this disproportion, he’s actually unable to grasp both the depth of man’s loneliness and the vertigo of facing a world totally indifferent to it.