Max is on holiday at his grandmother's place in the Elzas in France. He's fascinated by the guitar playing of gypsy Miraldo. In exchange for writing letters to the social security ...
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Max is on holiday at his grandmother's place in the Elzas in France. He's fascinated by the guitar playing of gypsy Miraldo. In exchange for writing letters to the social security institutes he gets guitar lessons from Miraldo. He becomes friends with Swing, a boyish gypsy girl, who shows him nature and takes him to exuberant musical evenings.Written by
A film done with the rich background of someone who knows his roots. Tony Gatlif goes deep into Gypsy traditions, lore and way of life.
Maybe not in a historical way, but in a lively, musical and natural manner, as it emanates from Gypsy culture. Many years ago, National Geographic published a long article, and then a book, on Gypsies. I remember writing to the photographer, who spent several years traveling with Gypsies from all over the world. Remarkably, he answered in a beautiful letter where he recounted the many adventures he had living like a Gypsy for a long time.
What we see in this film through the eyes of Max, an uptown-grown french young boy, is a revelation for all of us who are truly fascinated by the stories of Gypsies, as the National Geographic's photographer was.
Max is played delightfully by Oscar Copp in his first appearance on screen. A boy with a mischievous smile, clear and beautiful eyes, and a spirit that soars above all, as he connects with music. This, he learns from the real Tchavolo Schmitt, one of the most gifted guitarists in the world.
Swing, characterised by Lou Rech, is a young girl who befriends Max. A Gypsy from another world that shows Max the love for life, music and nature.
Music plays a major role in this film. Maybe you won't find a better way to get into the process of making music than in Swing. As many extremely talented musicians get together for just the fun of playing, they get into it and develop truly frantic rhythms that will make you -at least, smile.
Music is central to the story as is the discovery of a new world for Max. Swing's role is beautifully portrayed by a girl that may look tough but is as sweet as a rose. She leads Max, with her uncle, into the many Gypsy traditions he will later adopt himself. Max and Swing's relationship is beautiful and, more than anything, joyful.
From a cinematographers point of view, this film transcends with the human spirit exuded by the characters. It follows, in a very naturalistic approach, the very sense of life.
I'm usually favourable towards French films, and a bit against american superproductions. This film simply reminds me that life, as is, is more important than anything we have, and, absolutely, the french way of filmmaking always reminds me of this. Two thumbs up!
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