Latcho Drom | Chicago Reader

Latcho Drom

This difficult-to-categorize 1993 masterpiece by Tony Gatlif is many things at once: a Gypsy “docu-musical” (actually an adroit mixture of documentary and fiction) in 'Scope and stereo featuring musicians, singers, and dancers from India, Egypt, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, France, and Spain; an epic account of Gypsy migrations over the past thousand years; a political statement about Gypsy persecution that never descends into bitterness; a poetic evocation of the passing seasons; and a gorgeously filmed and edited compilation of some of the most joyous, soulful, and energizing music and dancing you're likely to encounter, taking on the musical forms and styles of each successive country (including Django Reinhardt-style jazz in France and flamenco in Spain). All this is threaded together so subtly and expressively by Gatlif (himself a Gypsy), with a minimum of speech and narration, that the music and filmmaking often seem indissoluble. When dogs bark or the camera cranes up exuberantly into the treetops, they're every bit as musical and rhythmic as the performances, and the pulse is so infectious you may feel like dancing. In French and Romany with subtitles.

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