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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 91 | volume XVI | July-August, 2013



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 91July-August, 2013

Mission: Finding the Gypsy Within

p. 1
Ermira Kamberi

Niobe Thompson’s review of Tony Gatlif’s Gadjo Dilo follows the historical pattern of division that separates the Roma from the non-Roma. Living disconnected from one another and with very few (if any) touching points, the reality of this relationship protrudes the way this movie is seen and understood. Namely, Thompson illustrates a non-Roma viewing of the movie without voicing the Roma as spectators. After all, the movie is about a non-Roma meeting the Roma culture, an adventure that uncovers the secret desire of non-Roma to take a peak into the fascinating lives of the Roma. Even though she emphasizes the existing gulf in understanding that separates the two, she does not develop any concrete argument about whether this movie impacts the size of the gulf.
    In her article, Thompson takes a standpoint on one side of the gulf instead of hovering in the middle in order to overlook both sides. She relies on the romanticized and, as we will see later, comforting views about the Roma when presenting her arguments from a non-Roma perspective. Here is the first image she portrays: “This film seemed to crown Gatlif’s achievements as an interpreter of Romani (gypsy) culture, finally taking us beyond the stoop and right into bed with the fiddle – playing, horse – rustling, dark – skinned nomads lurking in their wagon camps on the fringes of Fortress Europe.”[1] This is where she establishes the division between us and them and every argument that follows is about “how us uncover them” through Stephane’s character. This is a revelation of the “orientalist” fascinations comfortably projected in Roma culture, as Thompson states: “… we are confronted with a refugee from our own, flawed cultures, seeking a silver truth in exotic and foreign surroundings, establishing contact with the ‘other’ and preparing to return with his own pillaged treasure – an Elgin Marble to illuminate our lives.”[2] Clearly, she sympathizes with Stephane’s mission and further enhances the exotic nature of his adventure by including a few allusions to the sex scenes and describing the moment of meeting the Roma as a moment of transfer to shamanic ecstasy. In addition, she emphasizes the importance of acculturation in order to gain access to the community and most importantly, Thompson vividly depicts the disappointment with the protagonist for destroying the tapes. For her, this is a “slap on the hand” and ultimately, a moment of awakening for those


1. Thompson, Niobe. "Understanding the Gulf: Tony Gatlif's Gadjo Dilo." CER: Central Europe Review. 27 Nov. 2000. Web. 25 Oct. 2011. .
2. Thompson, Niobe. "Understanding the Gulf: Tony Gatlif's Gadjo Dilo."

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