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What could be better for the village than a scenic railway to bring in the tourists? What could be worse for tourism than war? Luka builds the railway and shuts his eyes to war. Then Luka's wife runs off with a musician and his son is called up to the army. Luka's life is a war zone. Then he meets Sabaha..
Stéphane, a young French man from Paris, travels to Romania. He is looking for the singer Nora Luca, whom his father had heard all the time before his death. Wandering along a frozen road, he meets old Izidor, a member of the Roma (Gypsy) and tells him of Nora Luca. Izidor seems to understand and takes him to his village. Stéphane believes that Izidor will take him to Nora Luca when the time has come. So, he lives in the Roma(Gypsy) village for several months. The other inhabitants dislike him at first (as he comes from those who call them thieves and attack their folks) but when they as they get to know him better, they grow to like him. In summer, the ice between him and beautiful Sabina finally cracks, and a secret is revealed. Written by
Julian Reischl <email@example.com>
A Frenchman finds his muse in a Romanian gypsy village
This lyrical, poetic masterpiece of cinematic art sucks you into the minds and souls of a still enigmatic, clannish culture, as Stephane, the urbanised, DAT-carrying Frenchman confronts both his own Western attitudes and the wistful, dogged independence of an oft persecuted race. The veracity of the work borders on cinema verite, such is the power of the performances coaxed with consummate skill by writer/director Tony Gatlif, himself a Romany, from a largely non-professional cast.
The plot hardly bears mentioning, as this is an exemplar of film as art, i.e. an exploration of the human spirit. One could wax lyrical about Stephane's mission to find the gypsy singer who's voice chicken skins him as a journey into his own psyche, or other such pyschobabble, but ultimately, even though framed by a love story and imbued with classical dramatic elements of pathos, comedy and tragedy, through all the elements that make film such a singular artistic vehicle - sound, music, image, performance - this work envelops you in swaddling-cloth, twists at the core of your soul, and vicariously makes you pursue the Holy Grail of the meaning of life.
I can't claim to have seen anything in at least a year, probably dating back to "Welcome to the Dollhouse", that has touched me in the way that this work did. For all those who think that trite eye candy like "Saving Private Ryan" represents a milestone in cinema art, an education moment in the company of Stephane and his collective muse will persuade you that true artistic creativity lies in exposing the seemingly mundane banalities that constitute our daily lives.
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