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Gypsy Caravan: When the Road Bends
Gypsy Caravan When the Road Bends
Actors: Taraf de Haidouks, Johnny Depp, Esma Redzepova, Fanfare Ciocarlia, Maharaja
Director: Jasmine Dellal
Genres: Documentary
NR     2008     1hr 51min

An audience favorite at film festivals worldwide, GYPSY CARAVAN is a dazzling display of the musical world of the Roma, juxtaposed to the real world they live in. Five bands from four countries unite for the World Music In...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Taraf de Haidouks, Johnny Depp, Esma Redzepova, Fanfare Ciocarlia, Maharaja
Director: Jasmine Dellal
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Music & Performing Arts
Studio: Docurama
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 08/26/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 51min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Brooksie Bow | Ohio, USA | 06/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The premise here is very simple: 4 countries, 5 bands, and a 6 week tour of the US/Canada circa 2001 by filmmaker Jasmine Dellal ("American Gypsy: A Stranger In Everybody's Land"). The bands represent different styles of Roma/Gypsy music coming together at a crossroads of diasporic jamming. This film has the feel of "Festival Express" meets "The Last Waltz", but with better music and some awe inspiring stage performances!

The bands come from Rajasthan, India (Maharajah), Macedonia (Esma Redzepova/Ensemble Teodosievski), Spain (Antonio El Pipa), and two are from Romania (Taraf de Haidouks and Fanfare Ciocarlia). For those who've seen the films of Tony Gatlif, Emir Kusturica, or the films "The Man Who Cried" and "Borat", the Romanian bands will sound very familiar to you because their music has been featured in these films. The sounds represent flamenco, brass, orchestra-ensemble, strings, laments, and incredibly mixed bag over the Romani diaspora and even centuries. As for the dance, amazing.

It must be said that the music is phenomenal, these musicians give truly transcendent performances. For me, it's the interactions between these acts and the glimpses into their respective lives/homelands that take this from being just another concert film to a pure delight. There's so much joy in the music and with each other and the joy given to the audiences watching. You get to see where the music comes from in terms of experiences and each land influenced it's musicians as much as the musician have influenced it.

These folks really had great fun and enjoyed each other's company, this is evident and great to watch. They seemed so intrigued by the music of their counterparts and so interested in the similarities to their own. The band that seemed most popular and intriguing to all the musicians were the Rajasthanis, Maharajah, who brought the roots. All of this mutual interest produced a not-to-be-missed jam-filled finale.

As for Johnny Depp, he's in this documentary for about 2-3 minutes. He appears in connection with the band Taraf de Haidouks. He counted them as friends and he worked with them on "The Man Who Cried" becoming a huge fan and acquiring a fedora habit. They appeared at The Viper Room. He wanted his name to not appear in promotion of this film for fear of overshadowing it. It's not about him, so Depp fans buy this knowing it's 3 mins of him and 2 hrs of great Roma music. Nicolae Neascu, the leader of Taraf de Haidouks, has a rather amusing comment on the subject. The Taraf seem to have gained a few more famous admirers in Iggy Pop and Jim Jarmusch via JD.

This film is a wonderful introduction to Roma/Gypsy music and very entertaining in general. Watching this has definitely made me seek out more of the artists' work and led to deeper interest in Roma cultures and people. This film inspires, showing beauty can emerge from any situation, no matter how harsh."
Spirit Music
M. S. Weed | Monterey, Ca | 07/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Thoroughly enjoyed this movie. An incredible capture of different gypsy cultures and their music (they're really ONE culture, that has spread out through Western Europe and the Middle East). Having grown up in southern Spain and attended elementary school and high-school there, this movie quite moved me. It flooded me with all sorts of memories and emotions, of a people very enlightened, who almost intentionally reject this
"cerebral era" that we live in, and choose to look towards miracles in every day life.

Having sat in elementary school with numerous gypsy kids it was great to watch these groups of gypsies traveling through the U.S. on tour. In multiple instances I burst out into laughter watching them interact with our American culture.

To end my review and most importantly, this movie is about music. Gypsy music. Which is pure spirit and emotion. I hope you enjoy this movie."
A force of nature.
Keith Lobert | Danbury, CT USA | 05/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Roma people are little known, like the wind ranging over the earth, transformative and invisible, but felt unless you never leave your domicile. Not surprising, Johnny Depp's glance with a Roma troupe resulted in lifelong changes, I think especially for him. The film follows many living threads of "gypsy" culture and music, which had been unaware of each other, having dispersed to distant lands, and naturally evolved musically with different ways. The phenomenal idea actualized and here documented: a colloborative concert bringing family together, who sing, play, and dance their way along time and continents all home to the roma. There is nothing simple about portraying any people, but these people and the filmmakers are undeniable in their authenticity. This film can contribute to anyone's experience and understanding of our humanity."
Nice music but shallow exploration of Roma predicament
Alan A. Elsner | Washington DC | 02/12/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This is the Roma version of "The Buena Vista Social Club." It follows a six-week, cross-country tour of the United States and Canada of five gypsy bands, two from Romania and the others from Macedonia, Spain and India. At almost two hours, it's too long. We get to see them perform, hear the wide variety of their music and we get to know the musicians and see them in their homes.
The music is pretty good for those who like this kind of thing but the discussion of the problems facing Roma is very superficial and avoids the big issues.
Having lived in Romania for a year, I know a little about these problems. Roma live in great poverty and suffer from some of the same problems as Native Americans -- high degrees of unemployment and abuse of drugs and alcohol. One sees their very young children begging in the streets every day, pestering passersby with great persistence. I was attacked and bitten by a Roma dog guarding an abandoned building in which they were squatting. There is also the big stereotype -- thievery. Of course not all gypsies are thieves -- far from it. But some are. One can find them picking pockets in almost every railroad station in Europe.
This movie does show the son of one of the Romanian musicians getting married to a 13-year-old girl who sits at the wedding smoking furiously. This passes without any comment as if it's totally normal and acceptable.
Bottom line: watch this movie for the music, not for the insight."