Romani Studies

The figure of the imaginary gypsy in film: I Even Met Happy Gypsies (1967)

Romani Studies (2016), 26, (1), 1–30.

Abstract

The article presents a critical study of Aleksandar Petrović’s celebrated work I Even Met Happy Gypsies (1967). The analysis focuses on the content and functions of the cinematic gypsy figure drawing its insights from Yuri M. Lotman’s spatial model of culture, Critical Whiteness Studies, Postcolonial Studies and Antigypsyism. The transposition of the fictional gypsy into the idiom of film is considered in detail on the level of plot, character delineation and visual aesthetics. The work of the renowned Serbian director makes a superb example of the artistic strategies by which the gypsy myth is rendered into an ‘authentic’ ethnographic document. Also, a parallel is drawn between gypsy films and blackface minstrelsy shows as a way of elucidating the three central functions of racial masquerade staged in effect in all gypsy films that make a claim to ethnographic truthfulness.

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Author details

MLADENOVA, RADMILA