Skip to main content

Gypsy + Being Gypsy + ‎Before the leaves fall...


Maghiară, Romani / Suedeză / Poloneză română, engleză / română, engleză / română, engleză

Title: Țigan / Gypsy
Director: Sándor Sára
Duration: 0h 17

Title: A fi țigan / Being Gypsy
Director: Peter Nestler
Duration: 0h 49

Title: Înainte de căderea frunzelor / ‎Before the leaves fall...
Director: Władysław Ślesicki
Duration: 0h 28


Cars, trains, the signs of modernity flicker at the edges of a Roma community seemingly lost in time. Funerals, kids going to school, adults riding bicycles home from work — fragments of Roma life in early 1960s Hungary, filmed poetically in harsh black and white film stock that works to distance them from contemporary life in both time and space. Yet contrapuntal close-ups of melancholy and resilient faces and occasional synch-sound interviews bring in an immediate empathetic dimension that counterbalances the anthropological, exoticizing vision characterizing the time’s few documentaries on Roma. This archival film produced at a time when interest in Roma started spreading among East and West European documentarians bears the marks of its time and points to the representation possibilities of the future. (by Mona Nicoară)

Being Gypsy

The first shots show Roma portraits done in somber charcoal by Otto Pankok, whose work was declared “degenerate” art as soon as Adolf Hitler’s regime took power. Using as a starting point the commonalities of Nazi victims, Peter Nestler, one of the most important figures of German documentary filmmaking from the second half of the 20th century, starts out to trace the history of anti-Gypsism in Germany. In this documentary made during Nestler’s Swedish exile with his wife and co-author Zsóka Nestler, survivor testimonies and expert interviews, which Nestler brought forth in the middle of the public debate on denazification in Germany, serve as an indictment of the recent past, as a springboard for exploring the long history of persecution, isolation, and dehumanization of Roma, as well as evidence of the continuity between the deeds of the past and the present plight of the Roma in Europe. A somber, necessary film that is unfortunately prophetic for what followed after 1970. (by Mona Nicoară)

Festivals and awards: 

  • États généraux du film documentaire, Lussas (France) 2017

Before the leaves fall...

Władysław Ślesicki, one of the most important Polish documentary film directors of the 1950s and 1960s, concerned himself with Roma from the very beginning, from his 1954 debut film The Gypsy Camp. His interest is both aesthetic and political: during World War II, Ślesicki was a member of the Polish resistance and took part in the 1944 Warsaw Revolt. Ten years after his debut, Ślesicki returned to the subject of the Roma in this purely observational film which documents the life of a Roma caravan over a summer. After the first establishing shots, Ślesicki places his camera firmly within the community, always shooting from the perspective of his participants: through the window of a caravan, sitting down to watch dancers around a camp fire, grazing the knees of horses taken down to the river. Ślesicki’s Roma characters are vital and funny, strong and seductive — while firmly anchored in contemporary time and space. (by Mona Nicoară)

Festivals and awards: 

  • Cork International Film Festival 1965 - International Jury Award - Best Documentary 
  • Krakow Film Festival 1964 - Silver Hobby-Horse of Cracow Award
Gypsy + Being Gypsy + ‎Before the leaves fall... ONE WORLD ROMANIA #13

we also recommend

Între chin și amin Proiecție specială, în prezența regizorului și echipei filmului
Între chin și amin

Proiecție specială, în prezența regizorului și echipei filmului
Cinemateca Eforie, Bucuresti

Între chin și amin Proiecție specială, în prezența regizorului + Q&A
Între chin și amin

Proiecție specială, în prezența regizorului + Q&A
Cinema Patria, Craiova