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This movie is a sweet melodrama about the life and the customs of
gypsies in the past century. One of the main aspects that one may
consider before watching this movie is the soundtrack, which contains
several gypsy songs (original, with Romany words) flavored with some
masterpieces of the well known Moldavian soundtrack composer Eugen
Unlike other movies, this film marches deep into the past revealing a world completely unknown to most of the present day individuals, an almost ancient time when gypsies were just a tribe of ill-behaved, rebellious people wandering from one place to another. Everything is covered with a haze of magic and archaic. It was a time when killing and getting killed for a fistful of gold or a horse were the order of the day, when people believed in sorcery and magic. It was a time when the traditions perpetuated orally, when "a capella" singing (rarely aided by a background violin or guitar) rather than big-band Bregovic-like events was the way to express one's grief or happiness. Listen to "I am dying mother" or "Phabaj" to understand what I mean!
Essentially the script tells an uncommon and passionately love story between a horse thief, Zobar, and a young gypsy witch, Rada. The script is a little bit unpolished making the impression of a "pink novel", but the music and the images (not to mention the beauty & talent of Svetlana Toma) balance quite well the not so very thick plot.
9/10 - for picturing so well a world lost to the ravages of time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
These were the seventies: while some European film-makers invaded the
big screen with exploitation flicks, controversial satires and hammer
horror soaked in a nightmarish conglomerate of blood and sexual fluids,
while others- on both sides of the Iron Curtain- intelligently turned
historical, literary or mythical subjects into sophisticated creations,
Loteanu followed his style; Communism-supervised and censored 70's
camp, so dated that it becomes anachronistically adorable.
Needles to say, this film, and it's follower " A hunting drama" (1978) are perfect examples. The rest of Loteanu's creations faded in the background, for he will be remembered by most moviegoers for these two pseudo costume/ period dramas combining subjects placed around 1900 with glamorous, showy and melodramatic seventies style.
In my native Romania, this film( also due to limited exposure to other directors, creations, because strict censorship allowed few films to be shown) this film had such a cult status, especially before 1989, that the soundtrack of this film was virtually in everyone's memory to such an extent that even people who didn't see the film knew it by heart, the songs were( quite liberally and inaccurately) translated into Romainian and were heard at least once at any party that was supposed to be truly entertaining. And even after 1989, when censorship was a over and tons of new channels and blockbusters invaded the big and the TV screen, it is still aired at least once a year on at least one TV channel.
The reason is simple- the film enjoys such a cult status because everything about it is unreal and the film doesn't even conceal it. Like the classic Hollywood musicals, infested with optimism and family friendly, lighthearted, almost Bubblegum Pop-style tunes, it must have been a colorful, campy, playful escape from an increasingly bleak everyday existence, not strictly in a restrained but even the "free" world. Like famous Romanian columnist Cristian Tudor Popescu said while analyzing this film( by the way, his rendition famous cinematic artworks followed by a cult classic are an interesting alternative to Mr. Tocilescu's more famous broadcast called "Schoking films") that this film is from the beginning striking a pact with the viewer. The Gypsy life is not sold as authentic but simply as pleasant and both he and his viewers know this-as long as it's entertaining. But, in the film's defense, Mr.CTP adds that the viewer who is not impressed by the breathtaking closeups emphasizing Svetlana Toma's eyes, the contrast between her overlong dark hair and pale face and her grand gestures might be a true film critic but not a true film lover( and this is something very rare to hear from one of today's most untouchable, strict and moralist journalists). In this sense, he is right. A single shot of Svetlana Toma singing in the streets is more fascinating than the entire film, even if the rest of the film were worthless, these very seconds are the work of genius that will make movie history. The scene is shot just brilliantly: the camera lingers on her face for a while before she starts to sing, these few moments are breathtaking and build up a huge tension, which continuously rises while she starts to sing a tune with one of the most haunting rhythmic structures in music history. It resembles the seconds before Liza Minelli starts to sing that famous "Money" -song from Cabaret, the technique is similar, a few seconds delay on the character's faces -highly expressive, even tense, then the breathtaking moment the music sets in, making it all even more captivating. And this so famous tune almost reminds me of Bryan Ferry's song "The price of love", because tough the music is Gyspsy, it has a certain Glam rock flavor- the elaborate use of beat and rhythm,creating one of the most compelling soundtracks ever , combined with a theatrical, Glam inspired gesture( everything almost toying with time and pacing in a continuous crescendo).
Svetalana Toma's actual performance is a combination between Claudia Cardinale's part from " The Leopard", strikingly resembling her physically, up to the clothes and the way she sensually wets her lips and hair and the dated image of the good-hearted gamine by Paulette Goddard in " Modern Times", homeless but anarchistic and ( anti-) socially active, even anticipating a bit Kate Bush's video for "Wuthering Heights" where the singer adopts a pseudo Gypsy look complete with red dress, breathtaking dancing, flowing dark hair and a red flower to adorn it. However the part of Rada is quite faked and idealized- i don't think that she had so much liberty to stay single so long in a society where marriages are arranged from early ages.
Also, I think that Gatlif or Kusturica( even if they also included a bit of idealization) render Gypsy tradition far more accurate than Loteanu. This is why i never saw this film completely up to very recently, thinking that it was nothing more than a mixture of simple people mocking the upper classes and some unilateral plain landscapes just tiring and boring my eyesight. But Loteanu seems to hesitate between some moments of genius( against all camp and censorship) and a very formal, artificial, overly sanctified, dogmatic depiction of nature, tradition and human migration-making all look tastelessly sanctified and mystical( very odd in an atheist film-making). Besides, all the characters, especially the male ones, are more hippies than gypsies, the men being easily interchangeable between gypsy whereabouts in one second and rather sleazy, "groovy", dated 70's macho( in fact, these macho, their influence in popular culture advocated outlandish clothing, casual fornication, nomadic lifestyle, anti-consumerist and anti-establishment stances). Even the ending is far-fetched and melodramatic- here the "tragedy" is posed, failing to impress or to cause sadness, making it equally campy as a cheesy happy end.
Worth watching as a flagship of seventies nostalgia, seasoned with few moments, scenes ( but worth as much as hours of cinematic masterpieces) of genius.
it is simply the best gypsy movie, translating so well their thirst of
freedom, for 'the road'...i saw it on tv as 'Les Tziganes s'en vont
vers les cieux, in a children-family program, but i think it surpasses
all the Kusturica-Gatlif spoofs depicting Gypsies. This one here depicts all the tragedy of the gypsy people, torn
between materialism and freedom. The opening is a piece of anthology as the old sage predicts
Zabor his near future and warns him : Dont trust any woman...and
remember that freedom is the most important value...' And ahhh....Svetlana!!! so marvelous dancing and saying to Zabor
: 'Dont look at me this way, it's forbidden...' To see for the proudness, the height of the feelings, the friendship,
the love, so pure....but leading to tragic endings in a gadjo world... a must for gypsy-movies lovers as much as : Autrefois, nous étions des oiseaux, from Garri
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Based on a short story "Makar Chudra"(1892), the first published
literary work by the famous Russian writer Maxim Gorky, the colorful,
filled with the songs, music, dances, horses, and beautiful scenery,
the ultimate melodrama "Tabor Ukhodit v Nebo" tells the story of the
fatal love between proud rebellious Gypsy girl Radda and the young
horse thief Loiko Zobar. There were no horse that Loiko could not steal
and no girl who could resist him...until he saw Radda. Raddas's rare
beauty and strong will had attracted to her rich and noble Sialdi who
was ready to give up everything to be with her but she only laughed...
Radda and Loiko were meant for each other but more than love each of
them valued their freedom and pride. What started as a musical dramedy
set in the Gypsy camp in the beginning of the 1900s somewhere in
Bessarabaia (Now Moldova) which had belonged to the Austro-Hungarian
Empire ended up in the final that is worth of the best Shakespeare's
tragedies. I saw this movie for the first time many years ago but some
of its images have been imprinted in my memory since: Radda stops the
wild horses with just the look in her eyes; topless Radda is taking off
her long colorful skirts, one after another and there are dozens she is
wearing and this is such a sensual scene which was shot for the Russian
movie back in 1975; the final - two horses, black and white without
their riders move slowly alongside and disappear in the horizon...
Very entertaining, beautiful and poetic film is available on DVD from RUSCICO.com. Highly recommended
I was a kid (in 6th grade) when I saw this movie , Of course I liked this movie for different reasons : I was attracted at that time by the music , by the intensity of scenes ....etc. Now as a mature person I can add more to that picture : the costumes are beautiful , the image is beautiful , sunny , colorful , and after all who can forget the mesmerizing eyes of Rada especially in two scenes : when she stopped with a single look the unchained horses of the baron and second scene with Luicu Zoibar. Now a lot of time elapsed since the movie was released , the director Emil Loteanu and actor Grigore Grigoriu are not with us , but this gem is actual and brand new , it never got old . I agree that is better than Gatliff or Kusturica as a gypsy movie , nobody was more authentic in depicting gypsy life as Loteanu , costumes are authentic , besides main characters the rest of SATRA are real ethnic Gypsies , not look- alike , songs are sung in Romany not Russian or whatever , and they were sung in a lot of weddings or parties in Romania , everybody knew them (even people who never watched the movie).As I said Gypsies are depicted as they are : with qualities , with defects , no stereotypes , unbiased. They are not the Gypsies of SNATCH , where Brad Pitt looks anything you like : Chinese,Arab,east-European.....whatever but never like a gypsy. Who wants to know more about Roma nation they should watch this movie . It is a sad and impossible love but I do not say more I let the viewer to judge this movie . Myself I was impressed and I had a wonderful experience re-watching this movie , you award this with an Oscar and still is not enough... It is a must see !
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Zobar steals horses to make a living. Just like most of the members of his ethnic group, he doesn't have a lasting job in a precise place, he goes around searching for targets, then steals the horses and sales them to a local wealthy man. During one of these actions he and his fellows are surrounded by the local police and Zobar gets hurt in the chase. After escaping his followers, he is saved by a beautiful witch who heals his wound. He instantly falls in-love with her, but she vanishes from his sight. He returns to his lover, a beautiful blonde woman who's not a gypsy. In the meanwhile we see a local noble man who desperately seeks the attention of Radda, the beautiful witch, but just gets mocked by her. Zobar gets imprisoned after his father betrays him when under the menace that the policemen would shoot the horses of his "satra". He manages to escape just before being hung, but the friend who helps him in doing so gets killed in the chase. By now you would think that the two (Zobar and Radda) are destined to be together and everything works out to help them accomplish their destiny. They finally meet and spend romantic moments together, vowing to love one another. The morning after he proposes to her in front of all the members of her group, but she refuses him saying that she won't accept unless he bents on his knees and kisses her right hand. Instead of doing so the proud Zobar stabs her in the heart and gets himself killed by Radda's father. The whole "satra" gathers around the two lovers and mourns them. The most surprising moment of the movie, at least in my opinion, was the ending. We are far too used to sweet Hollywood endings, so it was quite disturbing, but at least it was different;) Otherwise I think it beautifully pictured the customs and way of life of the gypsies in that period (and things haven't changed a lot in this sense). As for the actors, someone here said that they were all Russians. Yes, it's true, when the movie was made they were all born in the Soviet Union, but you must admit that some names here couldn't be more typically Romanian: G. Ciubotaru, Dumitru Mocanu, even the leads Grigore Grigoriu and Svetlana (tipically Russian name) Toma (Romanian). There's a simple explanation for that: they were born in what is now The Moldavian Republic, so it's easy to understand why their names sound Romanian:) However, they all did a good job. Sometimes the intensity of the glances between the actors spoke much more than words would have done. Furthermore Radda's glance looked hypnotic more than once as she was a witch and managed to predict the future and had a special relationship with animals. I'm afraid I can't be objective enough to vote this movie as it isn't at all the kind of film that I normally watch... I actually prefer action-thriller-mystery ones and yesterday I watched it because my mother wanted to see it:p However, for someone who is interested in the life of the traveling gypsies in the early XXth century and in their typical music and dancing, this is really good!
beautiful songs, beautiful story. inspired performances. wise manner to present/remember old traditions and a page of gypsy's past who could be seeds for the present problems. sweet, romantic, remembering pages from Russian classic literature, it is a beautiful film, mixture of magic, love, faith and rules who seduce and impress, first form of Bregovic's universe and soap opera. it reflects the circle 's pieces of a community and have a cut couple as lead characters. and not the story remains after its end in memory but the music. old songs, fascinating dances, strange forms of courage, freedom in different definition, the dangerous games, the high price of honor, the love in its large forms. a film who could have many sides. because it is an ethnographic trip, a dark fairy tale, a romantic story, a film with a generous message, an aesthetic delight.
I love this movie. It reminds me of my colorful childhood. The director
was an amazing person and he is the pride of our country. The
soundtrack composed by Eugen Doga are simply perfect. I have just one
issue here. In the summary, there is a mistake that really bothers and
I would like to be fixed because it will confuse people that don't know anything about the history of Moldova. Bessarabia is not a part of Moldova. It is MOLDOVA. My country has two names - Moldova or Bessarabia. I know it's pretty messy and confusing, but that's how it is. I want proper information, regarding the movie.
Overall, I love to see the movies made in Eastern Europe are listed here.
A movie that could only have been made in the 70s. Very free and very
lyrical. Poetic but still very earnest with a touch of nudity. While
nudity nowadays is not a big deal, I suppose it was back then (even
through all the Flower Power movement). And therefor it got special
mention before the screening (this year, 2010).
This shouldn't be the reason for you to watch the movie though. There is other movies out there ready to be explored, if you are looking for that kind of thing. This movie on the other hand, just lives the free spirit and does not take a particular road. Or tells a great story for that matter. It's all about humans and gypsies in general (though that might not be the political correct term to call them). And a promise the movie makes, that is kept in the end ... not that you did not see that coming ... just saying
A poem about freedom and love. A strange world of joy, ambitions and
desires. A form of escape and a colorful dream.
Emil Loteanu was a special director for the way chosen. His movies, products of Sovietic cinema, are, very often, touching skits of a raw cardboard's space. The stake- to prove the identity of a small nation in a empire. The means- Russian art of purlieus. Accent on the dramatic themes and emotions like only message.
"Tabor ukhodit v nebo" is only a picturesque film about a imaginary community. His importance is not small because the Gipsys are the product, in the self-image ,of this movie, slice of a possible golden age at the beginning of XXth century. In same time, it is a good introduction to Kusturica filmography, with the aspects of a ambiguous Balkan's life, with songs and carousals with barbarian persistent taste, with full of color atmosphere and any way of business.
So, a good film for Bovaric public, for the Kakania's nostalgics, for amateurs of subtle kitsch, for the fans of actors, for old Gipsys or dreamers. But, in fact,it is only a ethnographic foray in Maxim Gorki's pathetic universe. Eastern Europe- like a strange endless Gypsy's song.
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