Friday, July 19, 2013

Latcho Drom

Latcho Drom ("safe journey") is a 1993 French documentary film directed and written by Tony Gatlif. The movie is about the Romani people's journey from north-west India to Spain, consisting primarily of music. The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival. The film contains very little dialogue and captions; only what is required to grasp the essential meaning of a song or conversation is translated. The film begins in the Thar Desert in Northern India and ends in Spain, passing through Egypt, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, France, and Spain. All of the Romani portrayed are actual members of the Romani community.

Latcho Drom is an ancient expression in the Gypsy language that means "Bon Voyage", "Safe Journey". It's been used in time immemorial as an expression of good wishes by this migrant people. When a Gypsy family would leave from one location, in route to another, in search of a better living, those staying behind would simply say Latcho Drom, "have a safe journey" as they instinctively knew the inherent risks and perils that family would encounter in its peregrination. It was a time when an entire family's possessions would barely fill a wooden caravan drawn by a horse or a mule.

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