In the world created by writer/director Tony Gatlif, narrative blows in the wind, caught on a waft of gypsy music and the next incident concerning his central Italian protagonist Zingarina (Asia Argento, looking very Uma Thurman).

She travels from France – don’t ask why she was there, you’ll be disappointed - to Transylvania with her pal Marie (Amira Casar) in search of her lover Milan (Marco Castoldi), who was deported, but not before getting her up the stick.

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When she finds him, he spurns her, leading her to go slightly off her rocker before embarking on a series of odd adventures with itinerant gypsy wheeler dealer Tchangalo (Birol Ünel). These include, but are by no means limited to, being purified by a jug of milk and practising boxing, while dressed as a gypsy.

The landscape plays a major role in this movie, with its bleak, open spaces adding to the feeling that the characters and their emotions are curiously incidental. Accompanying everything is gypsy scoring, frenetic and full of life that the landscape lacks.

The music guides the film more than the narrative, by turns quirky, unsettling, celebratory and desolate. Linguistically, too, the action is deliberately off-kilter, with dialogue in Italian, French, Romanian, German and English.

If you take Transylvania as an exploration of gypsy life it seems – as one might expect – that it’s a pretty tough gig, while just living in a house in rural Romania is apparently no cakewalk either.

Story plays second fiddle to emotion, as this unconventional tale of love runs its course.

Reviewed on: 01 Jun 2007
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The picaresque adventures of a pregnant Italian in rural Romania.
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Director: Tony Gatlif

Writer: Tony Gatlif

Starring: Asia Argento, Amira Casar, Birol Ünel, Alexandra Beaujard, Marco Castoldi, Beata Palya, Rares Budelaina, Gabor

Year: 2006

Runtime: 103 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France


CFF 2007

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