Wednesday, September 30, 1998

Gadjo Dilo

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 1998 at 12:00 AM

Maybe it's the music. Maybe the dizzying steps of the dance -- feet barely touching the ground, faster and faster, in an explosion of childish happiness. Maybe it's the women who talk dirty and scrub their skin with wild flowers, and sing songs of utter desolation. Maybe it's the freedom, the uninhibited pleasure the gypsies take in everything they do, the passion. Whatever the reason, Gadjo Dilo ("Crazy Stranger") will get to you.

Maybe not at first. Not during the solitary, frozen shots which show Stéphane (Romain Duris) pacing up and down the road in the middle of snowy nowhere. Maybe not when the camera registers, without contempt, the young Parisian's disheveled appearance, his worn-out shoes, his frustration. But later on, as he learns how to live with the gypsies, you will feel a warm, tickling sensation somewhere in the region of your heart, and know that you too are part of this strange and excellent adventure.

The third and final film in his gypsy trilogy, Tony Gatlif's Gadjo Dilo tells the story of young Stéphane who searches the Romanian villages for the favorite singer of his deceased father. He has a recording of her voice, which he plays for anyone who cares to listen; he doesn't speak the language; he's lost; he's cold; he's hungry. That's when Izidor (Isidor Serban), claiming to recognize the voice on the tape, takes him home. But home is where the gypsies are, and Stéphane soon finds himself fascinated by their culture, intrigued by their habits, seduced by their women. Sabina (Rona Hartner), the beautiful dancer who's left her husband for other men, chooses him as her lover.

As he spends himself in passionate encounters, Stéphane learns to live with the loss (of his father, of the singer, of their memory), and love this never-never land where history reveals its preference for violent behavior. And when the last flicker of light has left the screen, you know it must have been the music that pulled you in. Or the dizzying steps of the dance. Or the women.

Send comments to


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Dayana Stetco

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 14, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation