Rom (1989, 75 min) was considered “a turning point for Greek documentary films and now everyone admits that it is a landmark in Greek documentary films history” (Critical guide to European directors, Wallpaper publication, 2000) “a masterpiece that must become a classic of the history of cinema” (Νicole Brenez, curator of the Cinémathèque française’s avant-garde film series) and participated in many festivals (including Cinema du Reel – Centre Georges Pompidou, San Sebastian International Film Festival, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam,) and wonfour awards.
In 1979, the U.N. recognized the gypsies as an ethnic group under the general name “Rom”, and granted a consulting role to the Union of Rom. “Rom” can be understood as gypsy, or even as a different way of life.
In his film, Menelaos Karamaghiolis attempts to trace the evolution of the gypsy race in Europe, particularly in Greece, through four different points of view. These are expressed in the narrations of four people: the Teacher, the Photographer, Tamara, the old gypsy lady and the young girl Aima.
The Teacher investigates the possible roots of the “Rom” and their development through the course of time, by analyzing fragmentary reports in the margins of history. The Photographer, through his lens, plays the part of a contemporary historian, trying to capture the present on film. He presents these people with both past history and memory, as, they never had a written tradition, nor retained any official records. The women represent the two opposite sides of gypsy life: One deeply superstitious, totally involved in legends and fairy tales and the other more modern, looking towards the future and possibly towards a new identity.
The four narrations alternate, without following a linear order. Authentic gypsy tales are interpolated with actual scenes from contemporary gypsy life, bringing out the peculiarities of their traditions in religious and magical rituals, in weddings and death ceremonies, in feasts and work.
The narrative structure of the film, with its endless reversals of sequences, is bound together with persisting leitmotivs of image and music. Thus, a new dimension is born, which does not follow logical patterns, but steps in the realm of adventure, and by insisting on the charm of the trivial, becomes relative to gypsy fairy tales.
Written and directed by: Menelaos Karamaghiolis
scientific advisors: Miranda Terzopoulou, Katerina Poutou, Vangelis Marcelos, Maria Hatzigeorgiou
Cinematography: Andreas Sinanos, Ilias Konstantakopoulos
Editing: Takis Gianopoulos
Music: Nikos Kipourgos
Sound: Dimitris Athanasopoulos, Dimitris Kasimatis
Narrators: Electra Alexandropoulou, George Konstas, Menelaos Karamaghiolis, Marika Dziralidou
and the children: Ifigenia Anastasiadi, Vangelis Tzanatos
Production manager: Giovanna Tembou
Sound-mix: Thimios Kolokousis
Etalonage: Apostolos Arhontas
Computer graphics: Giorgos Argiroiliopoulos
Singers: Kostas Pavlidis, Kostas Dimitiriou, Dora Masklavanou
Μusicians: Stella Kipraiou, Alexandros Kipridis, Michalis Vorias, Vasilis Papavasiliou, Nikos Ginos
With the participation of the artists of the CIRCUS «WILLIAMS»
Antonio & Roberto Formisano Pasquale & Luigi & Maria & Alessandro & Antonio La Veglia