Korkoro: Tony Gatlif's Latest Drama About the Roma
Robust emotion and cultural detail offset slight plotting and characterizations in the based-on-actual-events Korkoro (translation: Freedom). The latest drama about Europes nomadic Roma from director Tony Gatlif (Latcho Drom, Exiles) concerns a band of gypsies who, in 1943 France, are hounded by occupying Nazis, collaborating local authorities, and a citizenry whose intolerance seemingly predates Third Reich rule. As in Gatlifs prior work, his aesthetic choices most forcefully convey passions and fears: A frantic tracking shot of children running through the woods is set to urgent violins; clanking music heightens the anxiety of fleeing men; a timepiece seen dangling above train tracks symbolically foreshadows concentration-camp doom. The directors depiction of his protagonists intimate customsplacing horses hooves in cloth bags to muffle their sounds or healing wounds with a balm made out of raw egg and cow dungis similarly compelling. Such ethnographic specifics provide depth to a dramatically skimpy affair involving the clans relationship to a young orphan (Mathias Laliberté) and efforts to evade persecution with the help of an humane veterinarian (Marc Lavoine) and schoolteacher (Marie-Josée Croze). The plotting is two-dimensional, but in the tormented visage of Taloche (James Thiérrée)a clichéd holy simpleton enlivened by irrepressible physicalitythe film seethes with full-bodied fury and anguish.
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