Top critical review
Art and Exile
on January 29, 2014
I thought the film did a great job depicting the Roma life. From the beginning it was clear that they were a close knit society that relied heavily on music and the arts. Even without dialogue, the director was able to tell a story and he did so through music. The lyrics to the songs the Roma sang changed as the film went on, reflecting their current situation. As they ventured from their homeland, the songs positive spirit darkened and began to focus more on politics in persecution. I recall reading lyrics about love in the opening scenes, but while the Roma are in European countries they sing of being condemned and political unrest.
The film also succeeds with the costumes of the Roma. The audience gradually sees a shift in their clothing. It's clear they are adjusting themselves to fit in, though their efforts are in vain. AT the outset of the film the women wore beautiful garb that was rich in color. They adorned themselves in jewelry- bangles, earrings, and hair pieces. This is seen when the Roma begin an act of worship. The women ready themselves by piling bracelets on their wrists (which interestingly serve a double purpose, acting as instruments of sorts), brushing their hair and singing. Over time, the bright colors of the Roma women die down and less jewelry is worn. The line between men's clothing and women's clothing is less stark, as the women begin wearing the muted colors the men did at the beginning of the film.
After watching the film I have an honest understanding of the Roma people. My only knowledge of them prior was from watching the Disney film The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I have to say I respect their endurance. Although they may have changed their appearance, they never changed their spirit. The Roma were willing to sacrifice the superficial aspects of their lifestyle, but never what really makes the Roma, Roma: their freedom. They were willing to be persecuted because they were unwilling to abandon their morals.