Documentary - Latcho Drom


Moiz Bhinderwala
Westford, MA
A. In one paragraph describe the subjects of the documentary. Tell who they are, where the live, and why the film was made.
Through the bittersweet music of the Gypsies, or Roms, and striking photography of India, Egypt, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, France, and Spain, ?Latcho Drom' does just what it sets out to do: evoke both the sorrow and the joy of this nomadic people, whose strong sense of community and tradition enables them to survive their treatment as outcasts. This documentary gives a panoramic view of the extraordinary variety of the Rom's songs, music and dances in more than eight countries. It captures the resilient perseverance of the Gypsies through years of persecution and poverty. The treasures of Gypsy heritage throughout the world, from India to Spain, make up an exceptional musical palette?
Since leaving ancient India around the year AD 1000 on their westward journey, the Gypsies have constantly contributed to our cultural life in a multitude of ways. Scapegoats of our sedentary world, targets of the most primitive social rejection or the most rabid literary or cinematographic romanticism, they pursue their quest far from our technological and social upheaval.
The Gypsies live a constant paradox: in spite of their refusal to be integrated, they have become the (sometimes exclusive) repository of the culture of the country they inhabit. Throwing tradition and fashion to the wind, the Gypsies have always used their versatility and sense of improvisation to adapt their musical style to others they discover during their travels. Each time traces of the previous country mark them as foreigners who stick out amid their now hosts.
The director, Tony Galtif himself is a descendant of the Rom tribe. In this documentary is his effort to create a dazzling musical and anthology of this forgotten culture.
Mixture of good and evil:
In the scene where a small boy and his mother are waiting at a railway station, the director tries to bring out the belief of the Rom people about human nature being good. In that scene, the boy offers a small amount of money to one of the Rom musicians to play him a song, the musician laughs at the boy, takes the money and puts it back into the boy's pocket, and then plays music for the boy for free. His group joins in, and they play delightful music for the small boy. This is a really touching scene, I thought.
On the other hand, the gypsies through their songs and music, depict their history. A history which has always been stained with sadness. The gypsies have been persecuted wherever they went, they were never considered part of any society other than their own. The gypsies strongly curse their fate, and show their unhappiness towards these societies of people who have never given them any acceptance.
Man subjugated by nature:
The gypsies sing of their history, with a sad tone. They believe it is their fate to be ?wanderers?. They strongly resent this fate, because it has brought with it sadness. Life demands to have at least some constants, but in the lives of this gypsies, the only constant is their change, their journey to a new place. Over these years, not much has changed about their life, they are still persecuted. This has lead to the strong fortification of the belief that they have little control over their fate, and that they cannot surpass the conditions that this life has set for them.
Present Oriented:
This is a particularly striking feature of their culture. The very fact that they are constantly on the move, travelling from one place to another, clearly highlights their strong faith in the importance of the present. They live in the present, since they are not aware of what the future has in store for them, they don't plan their lives for future needs, the way we do.
At the same time, they associate their life also with their past, their history, their traditional values. Their songs of history bring out their sad past?
Growing:
The gypsies are excellent musicians. Being a musician means constantly choosing between two options: either acting as the fierce guardian angel of a given musical style, or using the wealth of information gathered during their travels to shuffle the