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Gypsy Caravan: When the Road Bends (2008)

Taraf de Haidouks , Johnny Depp , Jasmine Dellal  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Taraf de Haidouks, Johnny Depp, Esma Redzepova, Fanfare Ciocarlia, Maharaja
  • Directors: Jasmine Dellal
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: August 26, 2008
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0017UOU30
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,486 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gypsy Caravan: When the Road Bends" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Uncut performances by Esma Redzepova, Taraf de Haidouks, Fanfare Ciocarlia, and Maharaja
  • Photo gallery
  • Extended interview with Johnny Depp
  • Filmmaker biography

Editorial Reviews

The astonishing variety of music made by the folks known as the Romani is spotlighted in Gypsy Caravan: When the Road Bends... (the title references a Gypsy proverb: "You cannot walk straight when the road bends"). Such diversity isn’t surprising, considering the history of these most peripatetic people, who are also known as Rom, Roma, or simply Gypsies. As writer-producer-director Jasmine Dallal’s film tells us, they originated in India, but began migrating a millennium ago, ending up both everywhere (primarily Europe, but scattered across the rest of the globe as well) and nowhere (Gypsies have no homeland; as one puts it, "We never went to war, never occupied any country, and never harmed anyone," and yet they are among the world’s most mistrusted and persecuted peoples). The one thing they’ve always had, however, is music, and plenty of it. Originally released in 2006, the film chronicles a six-week trip on which five bands from four countries performed in New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Austin, Ann Arbor, and other North American cities. The musicians are all excellent, but several stand out. Macedonia’s Esma Redzepova, a force of nature known as the Queen of the Gypsies, has an amazingly supple voice and a wailing power that regularly reduces audience members to tears, while two Romanian groups, Taraf de Haidouks and Fanfare Ciocarlia, combine a mind-boggling array of sounds (the short list includes everything from polka and klezmer to country, bluegrass, and Dixieland) to wild, electrifying, and occasionally rather nutty effect; other artists include India’s Maharajah, whose show includes a young male dancer who appears in female dress and makeup, and an exciting flamenco ensemble from Spain. The documentary also takes us to their respective homelands, which adds considerably to our understanding of this fiery, soulful culture (as do the bonus features, which include uncut performances by the principals as well as off-stage turns by them and various others). A side note: one of the cinematographers is Albert Maysles, whose previous work includes Monterey Pop and documentaries about the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and many others. --Sam Graham

Product Description

An audience favorite at film festivals worldwide, GYPSY CARAVAN is a dazzling display of the musical world of the Roma, juxtaposed to the real world they live in. Five bands from four countries unite for the World Music Institute s Gypsy Caravan 6-week concert tour across North America with the musicians astounding every audience they meet. Their musical styles range from flamenco to brass band, from Romanian violin and Indian folk to Raga and jazz. And with fire in their bellies and soul in their voices, they present an explosion of song and dance that celebrates the best of Gypsy music and the diversity of the Romani people.

Shot by cinema verité icon Albert Maysles, the film takes place during the USA tour as well as on location in Macedonia, Romania, India, and Spain. The tales of these characters unfold and are woven between their performances, reflecting the imagery and emotion of the music.

GYPSY CARAVAN is a Romani celebration that will leave your toes tapping, your heart pumping, and your soul uplifted.

Special Features

  • Uncut performances by Esma Redzepova, Taraf de Haïdouks, Fanfare Ciocarlia and Maharaja; Photo Gallery; Extended interview with Johnny Depp; Filmmaker Biography

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joyous June 6, 2008
The premise here is very simple: 4 countries, 5 bands, and a 6 week tour of the US/Canada circa 2001 by filmmaker Jasmine Dellal ("American Gypsy: A Stranger In Everybody's Land"). The bands represent different styles of Roma/Gypsy music coming together at a crossroads of diasporic jamming. This film has the feel of "Festival Express" meets "The Last Waltz", but with better music and some awe inspiring stage performances!

The bands come from Rajasthan, India (Maharajah), Macedonia (Esma Redzepova/Ensemble Teodosievski), Spain (Antonio El Pipa), and two are from Romania (Taraf de Haidouks and Fanfare Ciocarlia). For those who've seen the films of Tony Gatlif, Emir Kusturica, or the films "The Man Who Cried" and "Borat", the Romanian bands will sound very familiar to you because their music has been featured in these films. The sounds represent flamenco, brass, orchestra-ensemble, strings, laments, and incredibly mixed bag over the Romani diaspora and even centuries. As for the dance, amazing.

It must be said that the music is phenomenal, these musicians give truly transcendent performances. For me, it's the interactions between these acts and the glimpses into their respective lives/homelands that take this from being just another concert film to a pure delight. There's so much joy in the music and with each other and the joy given to the audiences watching. You get to see where the music comes from in terms of experiences and each land influenced it's musicians as much as the musician have influenced it.

These folks really had great fun and enjoyed each other's company, this is evident and great to watch. They seemed so intrigued by the music of their counterparts and so interested in the similarities to their own.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a force of nature. May 10, 2008
The Roma people are little known, like the wind ranging over the earth, transformative and invisible, but felt unless you never leave your domicile. Not surprising, Johnny Depp's glance with a Roma troupe resulted in lifelong changes, I think especially for him. The film follows many living threads of "gypsy" culture and music, which had been unaware of each other, having dispersed to distant lands, and naturally evolved musically with different ways. The phenomenal idea actualized and here documented: a colloborative concert bringing family together, who sing, play, and dance their way along time and continents all home to the roma. There is nothing simple about portraying any people, but these people and the filmmakers are undeniable in their authenticity. This film can contribute to anyone's experience and understanding of our humanity.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spirit Music July 15, 2008
Thoroughly enjoyed this movie. An incredible capture of different gypsy cultures and their music (they're really ONE culture, that has spread out through Western Europe and the Middle East). Having grown up in southern Spain and attended elementary school and high-school there, this movie quite moved me. It flooded me with all sorts of memories and emotions, of a people very enlightened, who almost intentionally reject this
"cerebral era" that we live in, and choose to look towards miracles in every day life.

Having sat in elementary school with numerous gypsy kids it was great to watch these groups of gypsies traveling through the U.S. on tour. In multiple instances I burst out into laughter watching them interact with our American culture.

To end my review and most importantly, this movie is about music. Gypsy music. Which is pure spirit and emotion. I hope you enjoy this movie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Music you've never heard July 4, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Picks up the threads that began with Tony Gatliff's brilliant music documentary "Latcho Drom" and weaves them into a new and exciting story about the music and the lives of the musicians, both in their native lands and on the road. There is often not enough extended concert footage for my taste, even though the back stories are great. There is enough for me recommend it to anyone interested in real traditions of music... not some World Cafe pipe dream of a record producer.The traditions are not watered down in the process of promoting and selling this music, which is rare.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The wonderful world of Roma May 30, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This film follows a tour in the U.S. of several Roma (gypsy) groups from Romania, India, Spain, and Macedonia. They all speak the same verbal language but not the same musical language. By the conclusion of the tour, they are able to come together in a musical extravaganza.
Over the course of the film, I felt I had gotten an authentic taste of the cultures of the various groups - they are quite different - and some of the "stars" of the groups. When one of them dies before the end of the tour, his group returns to their native land for a wake which I needed, too, I had come to love him that much.
Roma have been unjustly maligned all over the world and for a long time. They all live "some" place, but they have no homeland. Perhaps they have infused their music with the joy that is usually attached to a homeland because it is a joyous caravan, indeed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So glad to have this! March 31, 2009
By Fratina
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This documentary, which chronicles a concert tour of amazingly talented Roma people from several different countries, is already a favorite at our house. There are too many "good" parts to mention them all, but here are a few: Gypsy Esma, both singing and reminiscing; a fabulous aunt(Juana)-nephew Flamenco duo; Nikolai the Romanian elder statesman of the violin; a young Indian man who dances quite remarkably on his knees; there's even an interview with Johnny Depp recounting his experiences while making the film, "The Man Who Cried." I was so inspired after watching this that I bought DVDs of both The Man Who Cried and Gadjo Dilo.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this movie
Loved this movie first time I saw it 4 years ago and that is why I had to have it. Shame I gave it to friend and it has never been returned.
Published 3 months ago by zuzana
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll fall in love and want to dance!
The classic journey of the gypsies from India, across the Bosphorus, through Eastern Europe to Spain is told by performers from everywhere along the way. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Innovation
5.0 out of 5 stars A celebration of beautiful music and beautiful people!
I can't watch many movies repeatedly, but had to order this when Netflix streaming stopped offering it. The music is beautiful, and the people featured endearing. Read more
Published 8 months ago by lisa p
4.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the best ten minutes of music we'll ever hear...
... are in the Extras.

As some reviewers have noted, this documentary is a wonderful story and full of great music that too often is interrupted to go back to the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Steve Kohn
1.0 out of 5 stars dont listen to others
Bought this trash for my parents as a recommendation from someone else...I will never listen to that person again... ever.
Published 15 months ago by Gregg R. Goldstein
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome video about a subject you don't see every day.
Behind the scenes look at how to get along with other groups of people. Just happens to be fantastic music and dance.
Published 15 months ago by Morris Schaefer
4.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable sampling of various types of gypsy music.
I have given this DVD to several people who I know would find the variety of styles in gypsy music most entertaining.
Published 16 months ago by Patricia A. Mc Gehee
4.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Beautiful Film
I have had this DVD for ages and only watched it last night and was blown away by most of it. It is a documentary about four Rom bands from different countries who are put together... Read more
Published on May 13, 2012 by Tommy Dooley
5.0 out of 5 stars Gypsy Caravan
What a real treat for lovers of Gypsy music. Not only does it include perfromance of the tour, but a series of in-depth interviews with the musicians, tour organizers, etc. Read more
Published on January 22, 2012 by Mark Zigoris
5.0 out of 5 stars A great film
This is a great film. A lot of music and some documentary of the Roma(Gypsy) Caravan tour. I would recommend this film and Latcho Drom(Safe Journey) if you are interested in the... Read more
Published on December 27, 2011 by Donald J. Marchand
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