June 27, 2012
Director: Martin Sulík
MPAA Rating: N/A
Screenwriters: Marek Lesak, Martin Sulík
Starring: Jan Mizigar, Martin Hangurbadžo, Martinka Kotlárová, Miroslava Jarábeková, Miroslav Gulyas, Ivan Mirga, Attila Mokos
A Czech-Slovakian tale of a 14-year-old boy, a member of a poor Roma (gypsy) community, whose father dies under mysterious circumstances, and whose sleazy new stepdad compounds his pain by trying to enlist him in various nefarious activities. This deeply felt, resonant drama is equal parts neo-realism and modern Shakespearean tragedy. Few Americans are familiar with the hardscrabble lives of contemporary gypsies, or the pariah status they continue to have throughout Eastern Europe. "Gypsy" goes a long way to correcting the "colorful" stereotype of a musical, nomadic people whose sorrows are the stuff of history and myth. Director Martin Šulík was inspired by the nearly 200,000 Roma who live in Slovakia, in villages lacking electricity, running water and heat; families of more than a dozen people live in huts of only a few square meters. A multiple prize-winner at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival last year, "Gypsy" limns memorable realistic portraits, some flecked with bitter humor: the boy who dreams of going to Western Europe so that he may be mistaken for Pakistani; stolen ostriches accepted as payment in lieu of cash; the white documentary film crew whose members combine compassion with unconscious racism. Jan Mizigar gives a superb, naturalistic performance as a child on the brink of adulthood, attempting to shape a future that rejects the more sordid aspects of this world, but one that remains true to family and culture.