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A young Frenchman, Stephane (Romain Duris), is on a trek around the stark Romanian outback one winter, hoping to track down Nora Luca, a gypsy singer that his late father recorded many years ago, as well as record some new local music of his own. One night, he meets Izidor (Izidor Serban) a grizzly old Gypsie, who insists on sharing his vodka and later offers him a place to sleep in his humble hut in a small village of gypsies. The village eventually befriends him and teach him their language. Izidor especially takes him under his wing, and he sees first hand the tough life the gypsies lead, facing poverty as well as persecution. But soon Stephane catches the eye of the free-spirited Sabina (Rona Hartner) and a romance begins to blossom.

“The chill in the air contrasts dramatically with the warmth of the gypsies in this delightful charmer that overflows with joie de vivre. Gypsy culture, traditions and superstitions are beautifully described in this colourful celebration of life, which also observes prejudiced attitudes towards the gypsies. Rich in evocative images, rhythmic music that massages the soul and a heartwarming tale, Gadjo Dilo is entrancing cinema – a journey that reflects sorrow, joy and the very pulse of life itself. Set in an ancient Romanian village, there’s a scene which well describes the mood. The old man is playing the gypsy violin for the stranger, and while melancholy and joy of the music soars through the air, a beautiful white horse peers in through the window, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. The direction is fluid, the cinematography stunning, the performances totally engaging. Rona Hartner as Sabina is delectable as the free-spirited gypsy girl whose reputation is tainted. Here is a tale where life’s emotions are expressed, not stifled. They are expressed openly in every way imaginable, but most effectively in music, rhythm and song – being extensions of walking, talking and breathing. We ache for Izidor’s pain for his son’s arrest, as he drowns his sorrows in vodka; we rejoice in the joy of living and loving. The white winter settings are breathtaking and contrast strikingly with the vibrant gypsy colours. Gadjo Dilo is a glorious tonic for the soul.”
Louise Keller

“It’s not a charming film, nor a sweet glimpse into the lives of these colourful people….it’s not a cultural cross-check from the modern world into the folklore of a misplaced and mistreated group of people. If it were any of the above clicheed things, it would be a lesser, weaker and drearier film. Gadjo Dilo is above all an unsentimental yet emotive film that is not ABOUT the gypsies (in this village or at large) but about human beings who at first resent the arrival of a stranger in their midst (as most societies do) but who come to terms with him – and he more than that, embraces them. It remains a very personal story, through unique eyes; Stephane’s. Along the way, we are entertained by the bitter sweet nature of life, and saddened by the bitter taste of prejudice and hate. But the film never overstates its editorial points, and never pretends to be a big important film with a message for humanity. It is modest yet brave, touching and entertaining yet deeply serious all at once. And as Louise says, the music adds a marvellous setting for the story. Haunting, romantic, bitter-sweet and soulful, Gadjo Dilo is one of my favourite films of the year.”
Andrew L. Urban

“What a fresh and vibrant surprise this is, a film that pulsates with consistent energy, humour and an unexpected pathos. There aren't many films that succeed in capturing the reality of the gipsy life, and Gadjo Dilo works beautifully. It's a classic fish-out-of-water story which miraculously evolves into a boisterous, sometimes comic look at a particular Romanian tribe. It's a passionate and sexually-charged love story, it's a film about the complexities of friendship, and primarily, the film explores what it means to be an outsider, and ultimately, a victim of persecution. The performances are all startling, from the superb work of French actor Romain Duris, the magnificent Isidor Serban, who is hypnotic as the elderly gipsy leader with a lust for life, and the seductive, earthy and foul-mouthed Rona Hartner who lights up the screen as the sensuous Sabrina. Intricately crafted, Gadjo Dilo is a film loaded with both a brazen humour and humanity and an intense power. It's a complex, emotive and compelling work, full of rich characters and unexpected surprising. In all, an exhilarating experience not to be missed.”
Paul Fischer

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"Haunting, romantic, bitter-sweet and soulful, Gadjo Dilo is one of my favourite films of the year." Andrew L. Urban

"Gadjo Dilo is entrancing cinema – a journey that reflects sorrow, joy and the very pulse of life itself" Louise Keller

"A film that pulsates with consistent energy, humour and an unexpected pathos" Paul Fischer


CAST: Romain Duris, Rona Hartner, Izidor Serban, Florin Moldovan

PRODUCERS: Princes Film

DIRECTOR: Tony Gatlif

SCRIPT: Tony Gatlif, Kits Hilaire, Jacques Migre


EDITOR: Monique Dartonne

MUSIC: Tony Gatlif

ART DIRECTION: Bridgitte Brassard

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Aug 27, 1998 (Melbourne); Sydney October 1, 1998)

In Gadjo Dilo, French director Tony Gatlif continues his exploration, begun in Latcho Drom and Mondo, into Gypsy culture and the curious plight of Europe’s paradoxically indigenous outsiders.

VIDEO RELEASE: October 13, 1999


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