Australian Journal of French Studies

Romanticizing the Romani: Unruly Representations of the “Internal Other” in the Work of Tony Gatlif

Australian Journal of French Studies (2022), 59, (1), 34–45.

Abstract

Of French-Algerian and Andalusian-Romani descent, French film director Tony Gatlif offers an intriguing insight into the culture of one of Europe’s most marginalized, misunderstood and misrepresented others: the Romani (Gypsies). This article examines the rules of engagement in Gatlif’s representation of cultural minorities, particularly in relation to his claims to cultural “truth” and authenticity in his filmmaking. Also explored are the dynamics of exoticism and the narratives of perpetual discovery that characterize Gatlif’s success on the film festival circuit, which has its own set of rules and vested interests when it comes to film programming in the context of a self-serving, heavily mediated and orientalist altruism. Such dynamics reveal as much about the idiosyncrasies of film critics, curators and audiences as of the filmmaker himself, all of which combines to form the rules of engagement in filmmaking and spectatorship in the exoticized and “othered” space of World Cinema.

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Author details

McGREGOR, ANDREW