Latcho Drom is an ancient expression in the Gypsy language that means “Bon Voyage”, “Safe Journey”.It’s been used in time immemorial as an expression of good wishes by this migrant people.
When a Gypsy family would leave from one location, in route to another, in search of a better living, those staying behind would simply say Latcho Drom, “have a safe journey” as they instinctively knew the inherent risks and perils that family would encounter in its peregrination. It was a time when an entire family’s possessions would barely fill a wooden caravan drawn by a horse or a mule.
While all the living beings in the movie play an amazing role of supporting, the lead character, the “hero”, the protagonist of this movie is, indeed, Music.
All the while I had heard about this film being about life of gypsies. 🙂
Tony Gatlif holds his camera on the elemental essentials of this life: water, the wheel, fire, beasts of burden and of sustenance, colorful clothes, jewelry, musical instruments, song, and dance. Throughout, via song and dance, young and old celebrate, embody, and teach the cultural values of family, journey, love, separateness, and persecution.
We all feel that gypsies are ignorant about ways of the world, they don’t know rules, or culture, or how to behave in the society.
However, they have lived in open, breathed every morning fresh air, woken up to the first ray of sunlight, slept under the stars, and lived their life – in the language of music, dance and lyrics.
They converse with their God, whenever they want, however they want, their beliefs have kept them strong against the entire community which they often come across.
We see them dancing to the tunes of their own happiness, to the beats of their work, to the tunes of morning light, to the exiled life that they live.
We find them singing the pain in their words, and dancing their way forward !