Korkoro Gypsies

Korkoro is based on the real-life experiences of a Gypsy family living in Nazi-occupied France.   A fine film that portrays a little known culture – European Gypsies.  Korkoro means “Freedom”. This poignant drama explores the broader definition of freedom through the eyes of characters who see permanency as punishment. Gatlif’s beautiful and haunting film tells the story of a French Gypsy family attempting to keep their freedom in the dark and terrible times of Nazi occupied France. The Gypsies’ spirit of freedom is remarkable. You can sense the essence of freedom — in the children’s play, in the horse’s gallop with a beautiful gypsy girl rider, in the moving caravan coaches on the winding paths through forests and meadows, and in the trances of the gypsy madman Touloche. What is freedom? Are you free?  Watch this film of unparalleled beauty — and keep an open mind detached from any preconceived expectations. Visually stunning scenery, accompanied by a great soundtrack. Korkoro sets a mood of white-knuckles suspense, punctuated by humor and heartwarming portrayals of love and connection. This tells a true story in a realistic way. In the film cultures clash, surrounding the discovery of an orphan who joins himself to a band of kind Gypsies.  This movie relates the story of this large extended family, and the people who helped them, and the others that wanted to be rid of them. There was not only a Jewish Holocaust but also a Gypsy Holocaust, and this movie depicts it along with the French collaboration with the Nazis. Because their history is oral – they were not educated people – may explain why books have not been written about their persecution. (Whereas the Jewish Holocaust is well-documented.)  Two townspeople become involved in the race to save this tribe from the looming cruelties of the Nazi’s and their sycophantic French Vichy allies. The film does an honest job of portraying these French sympathizers with the Nazis. This film shows the Nazi collaborators, the French Resistance, and the Gypsies who were stuck in the middle.  The Gypsies call WW2 Porajmos, which means “the devouring”. As a Gypsy (Gitano in Spanish) I condemn the Nazis for all of their atrocities.  Korkoro tells this story on a small scale in a way that makes you truly cherish and care for the characters and imagine what their lives must have been like. All the acting is superb, and the madman Talouche (played by James Thiérrée – grandson of Charlie Chaplin) steals the show. The sheer physicality of his acting and stunts is genius, tragic, and comic all at once. The madman sequences were essential in depicting the affection & regard his compadres shared for Touloche.  For those who appreciate well-drawn characters and fresh unexpected twists, this is a movie for you.  I was pleasantly surprised watching this film about the Gypsies. There is so much to love about Korkoro.  Spectacular, colorful cinematography, interesting and diverse characters, utterly believable portrayals, insights into a complex culture. If I felt a possible cliché or predictable occurrence coming, I was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t happen. This unusual story of the plight of Gypsies in World War II France has everything to recommend it. Powerful. Beautiful. Sad. So sad… why are we humans so cruel to those that are different than us? Madness!  The cinematography was fabulous. The costumes were so detailed & colorful. The acting was top-flight, from the entire cast.  The photography is superb, the music wonderful.  Absolutely engaging ! Great script, well paced.  Every now and then I see a film that is perfect. This is one of them. Well-written, beautifully shot, well-acted, great wardrobe and locales. I never gave much thought about Gypsies — only that they let their children steal from tourists in Spain. But after seeing this film I have more respect and can understand their culture much more than I have ever done before. Which is what films should do — educate and entertain.  Because of this movie, I don’t want to watch Hollywood movies any more. This is a film that Hollywood filmmakers should learn from and stop making junk and stupid movies. I completely recommend this film.  I will watch this again!  Docudrama 2009 NR 1hr 47m.


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