The film takes the viewer on a journey west, from India to Spain, with stops along the way, to dramatize Romany’s nomadic culture. This journey takes place over a year’s time, from summer through fall and winter to spring. Gatlif holds his camera on the elemental essentials of this life: water, the wheel, fire, beasts of burden and of sustenance, colorful clothes, jewelry, musical instruments, song, and dance. Throughout, via song and dance, young and old celebrate, embody, and teach the cultural values of family, journey, love, separateness, and persecution.
Written by J. Hailey, used with permission
Tony Gatlif (born as Michel Dahmani on September 10, 1948 in Algiers, Algeria) is a French film director of Romani ethnicity who also works as a screenwriter, composer, actor, and producer.
After a childhood in Algiers, Gatlif arrived in France in 1960 following the Algerian War of Independence. Gatlif struggled for years to break into the film industry, playing in several theatrical productions until directing his first film, La Tête en ruine, in 1975. He followed it with the 1979 La Terre au ventre, a story of the Algerian War of Independence.
Since the 1981 Corre, gitano, Gatlif’s work has been focused on the Roma people of Europe, from whom he partially traces his descent.
After making Gaspard et Robinson in 1990, Gatlif spent 1992 and 1993 shooting Latcho Drom, which was awarded numerous prizes. This feature-length musical film, often mislabelled as a documentary, deals with gypsy culture throughout the world around the theme of their music and dance. For Vincent… read more
It may disappoint some to not see much of the struggle of the Romany here; not enough raw and brutal truth, misery, rejection, and other various problems. But what is shown here is not fiction! But simply some aspects of Romany culture still alive in some of their circles; language, community, and music; things the hyper civilized world has not yet been able to take away from them. I applaud Gatlif for focusing on that. An intoxicating and moving work. Highly recommended.
What if, instead of a stale textbook spread of Romany history, grade school students were shown cinema such as this? Breathtaking vagabondage and passage, portal to a world, this is the only musical I've ever really liked. 4.5/5