18 year old Jason Dorkel belongs to a community of gypsies. He is about to celebrate his baptism when his half-brother Fred returns after fifteen years in prison. Together, with their last ...
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18 year old Jason Dorkel belongs to a community of gypsies. He is about to celebrate his baptism when his half-brother Fred returns after fifteen years in prison. Together, with their last brother, the violent, hot-headed Michael and their Christian activist cousin, the four young people set off on a binge among the "gadjos" in search of a cargo of copper.Written by
Realistic drama throws us in a world we cannot understand and with different logic. Non-professional actors playing themselves deliver a worthwhile experience
Realistic drama which throws us into a parallel world. Even when trying to understand it, we are bound to fail hopelessly when trying to get a grip on the logic of the main protagonists. We enter a gypsy community, living in a separate world for ever and ever, with inexplicable rationales for their behavior. Of course, it is easy for us to say that, but I cannot avoid having such thoughts.
Their logic reminded me of a movie named An Episode In The Life Of An Iron Picker (Tanovic, 2013). It is about a Roma family living far from the urban centers of Bosnia-Herzegovina, trying to get urgent medical treatment while never having paid for insurance in their lives. They went at any length to get surgery, even to the extent of lies and fraud. One could construe this as parasitizing on a world they choose never to be part of, yet seem all too much prepared exploiting it when the need arises. Their fate may be tragic and not something they explicitly bargained for, but their deviant behavior and attitude does not help either to alleviate their problems.
Albeit unrelated, there is another thing that connects these two movies. Both rely heavily on non-professional actors, nevertheless performing very natural in their respective roles. It considerably adds to the feeling of authenticity these two movies impress on us.
A recurring theme in the movie at hand is that their criminal life is out of necessity. When victims resist and get hurt or killed "it is their own fault". Especially Fred, who is just released after a 15-years prison sentence because of killing a policeman "who stood in the way", utters several statements along this line in the course of this movie. Similarly, he expresses anger towards the judge who gave him aforementioned 15 years, since "what else could he do" to arrange food to feed his family. He was caught when fleeing from the crime scene, in other words we find it only logical that a policeman was trying to stop him. At the time he stole a full truckload of meat, until today still boasting that he at least was taking care of the family, while other family members "no men around here" did nothing.
People within the same community where Fred rejoins his family, profess Pentecostalism. In one of the opening scenes we see a tent jointly set up for the purpose of holding their religious services. One of our main characters is Jason, Fred's much younger brother, 18 years old and about to celebrate his baptism. He is not very sure this is the right time for it, as he assumes that he cannot continue "a real life" (meaning: alcohol, cigarettes, women) after that. We see several discussions with his very religious nephew Moïse, to determine what amount of alcohol or cigarettes are considered acceptable to comply with life as a Christian. Brother Fred makes abundantly clear, in his body language and ample remarks, that he is not planning to blend in with the rest of the community, at least not to comply with their rules of conduct. And there is another brother Mickael, violent and hot-headed by nature, who has his own views on the subject.
We observe these four very different men within their community (first half) and subsequently on their journey to steal a cargo of copper (second half). The copper truck was spotted by Jason the other day, when he was siphoning petrol from a truck on a parking lot. There was no parking place available for the copper truck, but Jason overheard the address where the driver was directed to. When he mentioned this fact to Fred, the latter immediately made plans to get hold of this valuable cargo. His welcome-back present in the form of his refurbished former "Alpine" car becomes the dubious role of being the vehicle to host the four very different characters during their journey to get hold of the copper truck. Due to the parking place being guarded by two men and a dog, a hefty confrontation cannot be avoided.
All in all, we see how people get into criminal behavior, and deem it their way of life without giving much thought about honest alternatives. And we see hefty confrontations with victims, innocent bystanders and police officers as being an inevitable part of that life. It does not withhold them from their criminal intentions, driven by aforementioned reasoning "what else can we do to feed our family". A very positive aspect of this film is that the main characters are non-professional actors, playing themselves. I saw in another review that they speak their own dialect, a fact I missed due to the Dutch subtitling and my dormant knowledge of the French language. Anyway, the actors were very natural and believable. We may condemn their behavior from our comfy chairs and our steady jobs, but it provides for some background on people who live differently. In case you count on a happy ending of this story, you will be disappointed. The only silver lining near the end is that young Jason's baptism really takes place, and that his white costume obviously survived the adventures of the previous night.
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