Transylvania

Movie Review by Susan Hodgetts

Starring: Asia Argento, Amira Casar, Birol unel, Alexandra Beaujard, Marco Castoldi

Director: Tony Gatlif

Phew, no vampires….just Tony Gatlif’s beautiful tale of travelling gypsies and evil eyes set in deepest, wildest Romania.

Zingarina (Asia Argento) has arrived in Transylvania desperate to track down the lover who seduced her in France only to disappear, leaving her two months pregnant. Aided by her friend Marie (Amira Casar), Zingarina then hooks up cautiously with Tchango (Birol unel), an enigmatic wanderer like her. But in a rootless, transient world, can they forge any kind of lasting bond?

This film is one of the most unusual cinematic works you are likely to see this year, full of music, dancing, delusion, searching, and joy for the basic essence of life. It captures a sense of wilderness and desolation in the post-totalitarian era of Romania, a mixture of the wild and natural juxtaposed with the scars of incongruous political ideology. As well as some very humorous moments, this film wins a prize for most scary birth scene (CASUALTY is for wimps), best Bob Geldof imitator (the highly charismatic Birol unel, whose character Tchango also wins best drunken dance and best chef – what the master chefs could learn about basic cooking techniques from this guy).

Like a rich and colourful shifting tapestry or a tasty, spicy tagine, this film will bring out your inner wandering gypsy. Joyous and enlightening.

5 out of 6 stars

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