10 user 27 critic

Gypo (2005)

1:53 | Trailer
It charts the breakdown of a working class family when the teenage daughter befriends a refugee girl. Helen has been married to Paul for 25 years. They live a monotonous and frozen ... See full summary »


Jan Dunn (uncredited)


Jan Dunn
4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Pauline McLynn ... Helen
Chloe Sirene ... Tasha
Paul McGann ... Paul
Rula Lenska ... Irina
Tamzin Dunstone Tamzin Dunstone ... Kelly
Barry Latchford Barry Latchford ... Jimmy
Freddie Connor ... Tasha's Husband
Tom Stuart Tom Stuart ... Darren
Olegar Fedoro ... Tasha's Father
Sean Wilton Sean Wilton ... Art Tutor
Angelica O'Reilly Angelica O'Reilly ... Prostitute
Rebecca Clow Rebecca Clow ... Terminal Hostess
Majid Iqbal Majid Iqbal ... Illegal Worker
Ashley McGuire ... Penny
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Josef Altin ... Michael


It charts the breakdown of a working class family when the teenage daughter befriends a refugee girl. Helen has been married to Paul for 25 years. They live a monotonous and frozen existence. Helen is desperate, damaged, and looking for change. Paul - bitter, hypocritical and bigoted, sick and tired of being in the poverty trap - is on the brink of a breakdown. His biggest fear is change. Into their lives comes Tasha, a Romany Czech refugee, awaiting her British passport and her chance for freedom - a concept taken for granted by all those around her. Told in three revelatory narratives, each from a particular character's point of view, reveals how the disintegration of an ordinary working class family finally comes to a head when unexpected emotions are unleashed. Written by Production Office

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


There are three sides to every story


Drama | Family


See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Won the Jury prize at the San Francisco film festival (2005) i.e. Levi's(r) First Feature Award See more »

Crazy Credits

Santa is credited "as himself". See more »


Music & Lyrics by Christiane Bjørg Nielsen (as Christiane Bjørg-Nielsen)
Performed by Christiane Bjørg Nielsen (as Christiane Bjørg-Nielsen)
Produced by Henrik Balling
See more »

User Reviews

Some films just make you really proud of UK film-making . . .
24 August 2005 | by Chris_DockerSee all my reviews

Gypo (offensive slang for 'Gypsy') is a film that connects with the audience on the issue of racial tensions in a way that few films can. It does so by use of great British talent but more controversially using the 'Dogme' stylistic method of film-making. It explodes myths about refugees and exposes attitudes that need to be dealt with. It tells three sides to the same story, each with an equal intensity, and makes us care.

The Dogme experiment was invented as a backlash tool against the formulaic approach of Hollywood movies where anything can be 'made' to look real given enough money and special effects to trick the audience. Dogme tries to go back to the basics of art in film by a self-imposed discipline of ten 'rules' known as the Vow of Chastity. These include no added effects (such as added music, sudden time and location shifts, superficial action such as murders) and using only hand held cameras and basic lighting. The point is to force the attention onto the abilities of the actors especially and not let the director off the hook with quick-fix technical solutions or dazzlements. (For the complete 'Vow', go here: http://www.dogme95.dk/the_vow/vow.html) Working under that sort of pressure, very many Dogme attempts have been failures, but the successes have been very noticeable. The sense of 'reality' is so acute that a relatively minor plot development can have immense impact.

At one point as I watched the film, an understated emotion just hit me hard in the chest and brought tears to my eyes: one of the characters (Helen) has become friends with some Romany refugees who are being subjected to racial abuse. Making light of it ("They were going cheap in Asda"), she gives one of them a phone as a present, playing it down so as not to seem overprotective. I thought: I don't care if this is fiction or reality, that is a very real, poignant, caring, loving emotion she has just expressed. The film had connected with me in a way that went beyond suspension of disbelief, and it was worthwhile and uplifting to experience. A similar reaction happened as the plot explored more intense passions.

Helen is in marriage to Paul that could be described a long-term but loveless, "Don't wake the baby up," he says to her gently as he takes his conjugal rights on her - against her will. Helen feels used. Paul is at his wits end from poverty in spite of hard work. He blames refugees for taking people's jobs (even though he doesn't think it below him to use them when he sees fit). Helen feels she just clears up the mess for everyone else, including her unmarried daughter and granddaughter. Her life has no point.

Tasha, an attractive Romany Czeck refugee who wants to better herself, comes into their life, hoping to get a passport, citizenship and freedom – things everyone else takes for granted. She is also in mortal fear of her Czeck husband and brothers who might come looking for her.

I watched Gypo at the UK Premiere and so was very fortunate to be able to speak to the cast and crew briefly. I asked one of the actors if working under Dogme had been different. There was an intensity in his voice as he recalled it – he said, you can't fake anything! Normally there is a point in the script where it might say, 'you killed someone' but of course everyone knows it's not real because people don't actually get killed in films. With Dogme, if you really can't do it, it isn't done. The effect is the audience buys in to what is being presented with a lot more trust. (All of the script in Gypo is improvised, although this is not a requirement of Dogme technique.) I asked Paul McGann (who plays Paul) further what advice he would give an actor planning to make a Dogme movie. He replied, "Get plenty of sleep!" then added on a more thoughtful note, "and have an open mind." Dogme looks pretty weird, but with results like Gypo it is hard to knock it, so have an open mind till you've seen it.

Gypo produces a remarkably convincing look at a dysfunctional working class British family, with its goodness and badness, and it made me feel proud to be in a country that is producing such high quality, riveting cinema (and on such an incredibly tiny budget!) It unites art, gripping entertainment and responsible social comment in a way that few films aspire to and many less achieve. Director Jan Dunn cares about making movies in a way that shows integrity to the medium, responsibility within society, and a duty to give the audience every penny's worth of its ticket money. Her enthusiasm and skill provide a role model for aspiring filmmakers to emulate. For all its subject matter, Gypo is one of the most moving and joyous films I've seen recently and probably the best British film I've seen this year.

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

20 October 2006 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Cigó See more »

Filming Locations:

Margate, Kent, England, UK See more »


Box Office


GBP300,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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