Gipsy Magic | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Gipsy Magic

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Gipsy Magic

This 1997 Macedonian film about a Gypsy family in the war-torn Balkans draws most of its power from a narrative that shifts abruptly from bloody fighting to black comedy, mimicking a culture defined by turmoil. The family patriarch, caught in a blood feud with another family, comes up with a unique moneymaking scheme: he fakes the deaths of his family members to collect funeral money from the city. "You mess up every business I start," he tells his "late" wife and mother when they threaten to reveal themselves, and often he has to keep his mother bound and gagged. The father befriends a UN doctor, hoping the man might marry his daughter, but is stunned when he walks in on the doctor having sex with his transvestite son. The film has some rough edges, but its jagged rhythms and unpredictable twists effectively capture the dislocations of Gypsy life. The haphazard arrangement of people and objects in the family's various residences and the intercutting of drinking at a party with the rival family's gasoline-throwing arson exemplify the way director Stole Popov visualizes chaos. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Saturday, September 26, 3:30, 312-443-3737. --Fred Camper

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.

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