The life of a Roma teenager named Adam (Janko Mizigár), the warm-eyed, watchful center of director Martin Sulík's Gypsy, is recognizable in the broad strokes: Wearing a soccer jersey in the opening scene, he sneaks a cigarette and teases the girl he likes. But Adam ends his banter with that girl (Martinka Kotlárová) by gifting her a freshly hunted carcass, and on returning home, finds his father (Ivan Mirga) dead, the victim of circumstances as cloudy as they are typical. Adam's mother remarries quickly, to his uncle Zigo (Miroslav Gulyas), the alpha thug in a hand-to-mouth community. Co-written by Sulík and Marek Lescák, Gypsy was shot in an actual settlement in eastern Slovakia and cast with locals. Sulík captures a specific way of life without placing it behind glass, immersing us in the joys and meanness of Adam's world. That immersion is set off by touches of mysticism (Adam's father appears in moments of crisis) and shaped by a classical theme (a boy reckoning his responsibility to his future with that owed to his heritage). You might call it an old story with higher stakes, but a keen sensitivity to its moral difficulties and enlivening details sets Gypsy urgently apart.
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