This movie focuses on the story of a young Frenchman who inherits an old casette tape that his anthropologist father once made of a traditional Gypsy singer. Seeing her voice as a link to his dead father and a channel for his grief, he sets off on an obsessive quest to far-flung Romania in search of the songstress.
Watching this movie which was shot entirely on location in the Romanian countryside, I was struck at how lucky we are these days, as until the end of the Cold War just a few years ago, an Algerian director shooting a film with a French actor in the wilds of Romania would have been a totally unimaginable thing. And it was a treat watching a film which is entirely in Romany (aka Gypsy) language, along with some French and Romanian.
In Romania, the youth goes to a Romany (Gypsy) village. But being unable to understand even a word of each other's language, the villagers have fun making sport of him by heaping him with obscenitites. But eventually he does make friends and gradually becomes drawn into the fabric of Romany daily life. Along the way, we the viewers also come to experience and understand the carefree and spirited zest for life that permeates Romany culture.
The film also includes a love story, but director Gatlif chooses to ultimately make his film a much larger commentary on the uncertain and difficult life for the minority Romany, given the ethnic tensions and discrimination they experience with the majority Romanians.
So if you're sick of Hollywood's version of "Reality" and would like a glimpse at a fresh and different perspective on the world, I HIGHLY recommend this movie.
-- But hurry! McDonalds has opened in Romania too, and you just know the crew for the next "Tomb Raider" flick can't be far behind!
P.S. -- This film NEEDS a DVD version NOW!!