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Gadjo Dilo Review

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Obsessed with the record his father played repeatedly while on his death bed, Stephane (Duris) hitchhikes from Paris to Romania to locate its mysterious singer, Nora Luca.

★★★★★

Mentioning the word "gypsy" to filmmakers brings very different responses. Most commercial directors will immediately think of brightly coloured caravans, campfires, violins and exotic dances. But to European auteurs, the key words would be pride, prejudice, poverty and exploitation.

Born in Algeria of gypsy descent, director Tony Gatlif has, to some extent, managed to combine both of these viewpoints in Gadjo Dilo, a striking, if occasionally sentimentalised, drama that completes the gypsy triptych he began with The Princess (1982) and Lachto Drum (1993).

While Gadjo Dilo seeks to score some social points, this is more a celebration of the modern Romany existence. Duris doesn't quite convince as the Parisian seduced by culture shock. But Serban is wonderfully mischievous and Hartner plays the enticing firebrand with a fierce sense of self-worth.

Laced with flashes of raucous humour and plenty of excellent music, this is a worthy tribute to the vibrance and sheer doggedness of the people it depicts. Which makes the ending, for all its inevitability, so disappointingly deflating.