Competition: “Delta” by Kornél Mundruczó

Although this is Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó’s first selection in Competition, it is the third time he has participated in the Festival de Cannes. The Cinéfondation showcased Kis Apokrif n°2 in 2004, and Johanna was a 2005 Un Certain Regard choice. Delta is the story of the return of a taciturn young man to the countrified delta region which is his family’s home. There, he finds and falls in love with a sister he never knew he had. However, their relationship is rejected as “unnatural” by the locals.

The director chose the wild and isolated Danube delta region as the setting for a story which touches upon the theme of incest, a universal taboo: “Love between siblings is primal and irresistible in its essence – though it may be against nature – as it represents the possibility of unity with self. We yearn for it, yet we shudder at the thought of it. It is not only indisputably deep and real, it is also impossible and without any prospects for the future. I tried to understand the kind of freedom that could allow you to transcend the norm, rather than talk about sexual deviance. It is not the incest that is at the heart of the story, but the courage it takes to accept a natural attraction, even if it breaks with conventions. It’s about the freedom to do what you feel is right and the extent to which it is passionately hated. There are people who believe they have the right to persecute those who do not fit the norm; it is their total lack of tolerance that is unacceptable.”