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Zingarina (Asia Argento) arrives in Transylavania, accompanied by her close friend Marie (Amir Casar) and her guide and interpreter Luminitsa (Alexandra Beaujard). She is looking for her ex lover Milan (Marco Castoldi), a musician who has made her pregnant and who suddenly disappeared from France - possibly deported as an illegal migrant. When she finds him, he brutally rejects her and the shattered Zingarina abandons her two companions and runs off with Vandana (Mariana Rus) a wandering Gyspy girl. Her destiny changes when she meets up with Tchangalo (Birol Ünel), a Gypsy-like traveling trader, who takes her under his wing. But their journey is not without trouble.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Tony Gatlif's work is an acquired taste and I've been a fan for years, as he weaves music through his tales of Gypsies and wonderers who enchant or bedevil all who meet then. Including us. Gadjo Dilo, Swing and the less successful Vengo all zing with a melancholy but irrepressible zest for life as lived by the underworld of Gyspies.

This story is set in the Transylvania of the title, a region where Rumania meets southern Hungary, remote and ancient, unsophisticated but vibrant. Young French woman Zingarina (Asia Argento) makes a great protagonist for Gatlif, herself more untamed than her French urban environment and a perfect fit for the people she encounters in her search for love. She finds it hidden in the most unlikely place.

The film - like all Gatlfi's films - is a primarily a road movie driven by the music and the characters. Sometimes, the road lead somewhere, but sometimes it doesn't - like in this film. A trifle disappointing and jerky, Transylvania seems to run out of puff pretty quickly and is maintained only by the energy and enthusiasm of a wonderfully charismatic cast - and I refer to everyone, not just the leads.

The mood, the music and the melancholy remain true to Gatlif's signature, but there is a sense of incompleteness about the film which detracts from it. Surprising, then, that it closed the Cannes film festival ...

DVD special features include theatrical trailer plus an interview with Tony Gatlif.

Published October 9, 2008

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(France, 2006)

CAST: Asia Argento, Amira Casar, Birol Ünel, Alexandra Beaujard, Marco Castoldi, Bea Palya

DIRECTOR: Tony Gatlif

SCRIPT: Tony Gatlif


EDITOR: Monique Dartonne

MUSIC: Tony Gatlif, Delphine Mantoulet

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Brigitte Brassart

RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Brisbane: January 31; Melbourne: April 24, 2008


SPECIAL FEATURES: Trailer, interview with Tony Gatlif


DVD RELEASE: October 8, 2008

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