Latcho Drom (1993) Poster


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Haunting music, haunting images.
Erik (snikrepkire)18 December 2001
Beautifully filmed, mind expanding exploration of Gypsy culture in the context of their music. Travel across a continent, experiencing the amazing musical styles of various groups of Gypsy peoples. It is sort of misleading to say this movie is not narrated. It is masterfully narrated by the music itself, the soaring melodies and subtititled lyrics tell a story much better than a narrator would have. See this film.
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Timeless yet ever changing
Laurie-262 January 2000
From India to Spain, "Latcho Drom" shows the Rom have survived much by keeping much of their culture and yet adapted what could be of use to them. Through their music and dancing, you witness the common thread that binds them all and yet change/adaptation is there to see from the countries they passed through and lived well as influence. Hitler did his best to exterminate them (an old Romany woman bares the tattoo of a Concentration Camp number on her forearm while holding an old photo of a loved one while singing a song about those times.....several thousand died in those camps.) Ceascescue forced many to settle into villages and they are still forced to travel because of centuries old beliefs from others. Still they live much as their ancestors did and this film gives you a peek without preaching and makes you want to learn more.
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A Rare Documentary Achievement
famefetishfilms24 April 2006
What makes this documentary special from a film-making perspective is its passiveness; which engages the audience to bask in the delight of gypsy music. It innovates the form of documentary while showcasing a tapestry of sound and movement that invites us to celebrate the primal similarity found within the traveling music of (historically) traveling peoples.

Indeed the film itself is a single "take" of sweeping movement that travels the globe and transitions effortlessly from one rhythmic culture to the next.

Watching this film, one's breath is taken away by the simple beauty in our common connection to music, rhythm and dance. If there is a more deeply spiritual, flowing homage to the sound and movement of gypsy cultures, it has yet to be filmed.
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Nature Knows No Color Line - A Music Video
Zeech23 November 2001
I stumbled across this on Thanksgiving Day. I was at my mates and his aunty put it on as some Quality Eye Candy from the MTV/BET video s***e that annoys us with talentless himbos and bimbos. Since then every Thanksgiving I watch this (alone, lonely immigrant that I am), beautiful beautiful piece of Music Video Edutainment. I am not going to blag about the narrative of tracing the gypsy roots from India to Spain etc (actually the Kali followers before India were moving from the Indus Valley, and before that, this 'dravidian', 'dalit' folk were leaving old Khemet). But here's my observation, which none of the pseudo liberals who watch it with me see. Watch this movie please for this ONE point. The Gypsy LOOK changes throughout the entire movie. From black/brown 'krishna varna' in India, through Egypt etc to almost white Spain. Now these people are the OUTKASTS where ever they be. Hitler put over a million in camps, Franco, etc hated them as well. In England, I remember how the anglos despised them. So they are hated and moved on everywhere, so how come their skin lightens, and hair textures etc changes as they move from host culture/country to host culture/country? Because there must be some race mixing going on all the time during their 2000 year journey. As J.A. Rogers say's in his book of the same name 'Nature Knows No Color Line' , there is one race the human race and we will always mix/integrate on some level no matter what ever the taboos. A good movie to hire for any 'racial' or 'cultural purists' who need to be challenged.

Peace Zeech
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Beautiful Gypsy Music
Allan FINEBERG12 April 2001
Latcho Drom is a cinematic survey of Gypsy music from several countries. It is touching, sad and joyous. Most of the segments appear to be completely unstaged, unrehearsed. The music, ranging from the sensual flamenco music of the Spanish Gypsies, to the melancholy music of the Central European Gypsies, is exquisite. If you love Gypsy music, you'll find Latcho Drom absolutely beautiful.
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Bon voyage
Edgar Soberon Torchia2 October 2007
This is not "direct cinéma", as a matter of fact it is its opposite. Second installment of filmmaker Gatlif's gypsy trilogy, this French work produced by Michèle Ray-Gavras, is a film masterpiece, not pure documentary, no fiction by any means. Instead, Gatlif has chosen different locations of the route from India to Spain, wherever the Rom people have a strong presence, and with the help of art directors he has staged several musical numbers that tell us how the gypsies live, sing, dance, struggle and have survived. The movie may have strong opposition from those who question the hypothesis that the Rom tribe is of Indian origin, mostly challenged by those who see a direct link with the Hebrews (so, in a way, it comes as no surprise that they were also persecuted by the Nazis.) But above any anthropological argument, this is a work of great beauty, strong colors and wonderful singing and dancing.
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Fabulous and moving musical journey
j-connolly18 February 2008
This film is a tapestry, a series of portraits of Rom communities woven together by music. It's very much a musician's film, because of the paucity of spoken dialogue - and what dialogue there is, is not important to the structure of the narrative. Some might expect a National Geographic tale of "customs, dress, and music" or a plot-line orbiting a few central characters - don't look for that here.

This is because it paints a portrait of a family of peoples, rather than telling a story of individuals. The plot is the story through space (India to Andalucia) and/or/ time (we cannot tell) of a people. There is no need of narration. You get a sense of a joyous people, strongly linked in small communities where social interaction is very important. And a great sense of sadness in parts, at their rejection by society at large.

So it's a paean to Rom culture, very beautifully shot, with a wide spectrum of Rom music, and a sting in the tail which is the oppression these people have faced, and still face.
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A look at Romany culture from different countries and various eras.
JOHNAMI28 March 2008
Latcho Drom, or Safe Journey, is the second film in Tony Gatlif's trilogy of the Romany people. The film is a visual depiction and historical record of Romany life in European and Middle Eastern countries. Even though the scenes are mostly planned, rehearsed, and staged there is not a conventional story line and the dialog does not explain activities from scene to scene. Instead, the film allows the viewer to have sometimes a glimpse, sometimes a more in-depth view of these people during different eras and in different countries, ranging from India, Egypt, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, France, and Spain.

The importance of music in Romany culture is clearly expressed throughout the film. It is a vital part of every event and an important means of communication. Everything they do is expressed with music. Dance is another important activity. Like Romany music, it is specialized and deeply personal, something they alone know how to do correctly. We are provided glimpses into their everyday activities, but the film is not a detailed study of their lives. Rather, it is a testament to their culture, focusing on the music and dance they have created and which have made them unique.

Mr. Gatlif portrays the nomadic groups in a positive way. However, we also witness the rejection, distrust, and alienation they receive from the non-Romany population. It seems that the culture they have developed over countless generations, and inspired from diverse countries, will fade into oblivion because conventional society has no place for nomadic ways.

The other films in the trilogy are Les Princes (1983) and Gadjo Dilo (1998).
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Seems Too Polished, But...
gavin69422 June 2017
The journey of the Romany people told through musicians and dancers of India, Egypt, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, France, and Spain.

I am somewhat skeptical of this being a pure "documentary". Much of it looks too clean, too scripted. It has no narrative, but still has something about it that feels overly cinematic. Or maybe that is just how good the director is? However, even if this was staged, it is a document of real Roma people, their dances and their music. And that in itself has a great deal of value. I am not aware of any other culture that expresses itself in song quite so much. I suppose one could say Native Americans, but even there, it tends to be more at a ceremony and not really part of the daily life.
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Words cannot describe this masterpiece. Go and see it!
Paul Vachier5 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Gypsy director Tony Gatlif succeeds in telling the story of gypsies from their originals in northern India, across Asia and Europe, through the centuries, all the way to Spain. Part anthropological documentary, part musical, party historical treatment, part political statement, this amazing movie may be my all time favorite film. Anybody looking to understand the Gypsy experience now and through the ages should see this film. Even if you don't care about gypsies, you should see it just for its shear beauty. It brings tears to my eyes even just thinking about how beautiful and powerful this movie is. Not only is the whole move a masterpiece but every single frame, every edit, every nuance is perfect. Yes it's that good!
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Priceless portrait of a wayward culture.
punishmentpark27 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
From northwest India to Romania, from Germany to Spain; the first location was a surprise to me, as I didn't know the origins of Romany culture are rooted in India. Other surprises were the violinist playing a loose string and the little white boy dancing to cheer up his mother - absolute gems, like many other performances, too.

Sure, this could have done with a narrator and additional info on the Romany, but Gatliff dóes tell a certain story, with beautiful imagery and music as the main ingredients, as it moves through time and countries in a very captivating manner. It is certainly more than enough for 'Latcho Drom' to work as a cinematic experience.

9 out of 10.
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just loved it!
Sherparsa23 December 2011
the perhaps curious life of the nomadic Roma people has always been a great topic of interest to me since my childhood, basically because of their fascinating and enchanting music, aside from their free living style ...

so, when this movie started, so beautifully with the nomadic Roma of Rajasthan in India, showing their ritualistic singing and dance and everything in their chaotic desert dwelling, i just felt hooked up to keep watching, and that i did until the very last minutes of this truly great documentary.

i have to admit i had not been impressed by any movie for a long time indeed. well worth the time spent and i'm sure i'll be able to watch this movie again and again once in a while in future ...

this will be a great piece of evidence to keep for anyone as a historical document portraying a much ignored (albeit admired-by-some) tribe's life ...
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Nice Music, but need more guidance.
phoenixeast20 August 2005
I ended up liking this movie but it was not the easiest to get through. What makes the movie great is the music and the scenery. The songs are beautiful and the musicians are talented. A great job was done to show different settings for the Rom people.

However, the viewer was not guided enough. A more in depth history of the Rom people would have been nice. Only a fraction of the of the spoken words were given English subtitles. In addition, more explanations about the settings and who was their and some of their challenges would have been appreciated too. It would have helped if there were a narrator too explain about customs, dress and music.
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