Tony Gatlif directed the movie Gadjo Dilo in 1997. This movie is about Stephane, a young Frenchmen that is searching for a singer named Nora Luca, which reminds him of his father. During his travels, he befriends a gypsy named Izidor and this becomes the premise for his indoctrination into gypsy life. The film shows how people from very different backgrounds can befriend each other and through shared experience can find a way to share culture, language, and love. It is also a film that uses the experiences of Stephane with the other gypsies in order to explain how people are able to live and understand one another if they are forced to walk in each other shoes.
At the very beginning of the movie, Izidor is seen crying and is very drunk because the police took his son. Adriana, Izidor’s son is caught by the police and charged with being a thief. Subsequently, he is incarcerated for six months. Izidor meets Stephane while he is on his own personal long journey in search of Nora Luca. He starts to ask Izidor about Nora Luca and then begins to play his small radio. Izidor takes Stephane to his house and lets him sleep in his bed. The next day the gypsies are shocked because there is someone they do not know in Izidor’s house. When Stephane wakes up he goes out and brings Izidor some alcohol to thank him for letting him sleep in his house. Later in the movie, Stephane becomes part of the gypsy community and they accept him as one of them. Izidor and surrounding children start to teach him the elements of gypsy life.
One of the most powerful scenes is when Izidor’s brother dies and then Izidor begins to dance a traditional gypsy dance next to his brother’s grave after spilling alcohol on it. When Adriana gets out the jail and the gypsies see him on the road, all of them come together sharing their happiness. They essentially all become one unit. Later in the film when Adriana dies, Stephane dances the same dance next to his grave. This demonstrates how he has become part of the gypsy community and that he begins to adopt their traditions as his own.
They share food, their lifestyle, and they begin to share everything with Adriana. All the gypsies sing together while playing violin and other instruments. The girls dance their gypsy dances and Sabina falls in love with Stephane. This is despite the fact that he is not originally from the same culture or community. Sabina is able to speak French enough to be able to communicate with him, which creates a bond between the two.
During the time, that Stephane is looking for Nora Luca, all the gypsy musicians help him look for Nora Luca while performing her songs in bars during their joint travels. They care about him even though he is not one of them, but he shows his respect for their community and culture by the way he assimilates into their society. Stephane essentially begins to feel what they feel.
The article by Zygmunt Baumer explains how we define a stranger and that a stranger is neither a friend nor an enemy. When you have a friend you know how to interact with him. In the same way, if you have an enemy and you know who is and how to interact with him. When a stranger enters your world, you cannot classify whether he is a friend or an enemy. If a friend is in front of you, you know what to do, if an enemy is in front of you, you know what to do. However, when it comes to a stranger you do not know how to deal him or her. When people of different cultures come to a country they attempt to assimilate. However, if you go to different country and you understand the culture and change the way you behave to fit that culture, you still cannot change your identity. Nationality is a tool that has been used to identify people so they will not seem so “strange”. These concepts are exemplified in the movie “Gadjo Dilo”. First, the main character, Stephane, sleeps in Izidor’s house and people do not accept him because they cannot classify him as a friend or an enemy. He is a stranger just as discussed in the article. Over time, Stephane is able to assimilate to their culture by speaking their language and adapting to their customs. Eventually he becomes a member of the gypsy culture.