Artworks always, in one sense or another, have meaning, even when the very idea of meaningful art is challenged by the work itself, like in Dadaism. The film you have chosen will have an array of characters who will be presented a certain way: there will most-likely be villains and heroes, men and women, and Romanies and non-Romanies. It’s very likely that the “good” and “bad” characters will be complicated, even sympathetic, and that will probably challenge the viewer’s ideas of villain and hero in the story. The same is probably true for the Romani characters– their characters may be stereotypes in some ways, but perhaps not in others. They may be very sympathetic and likable, and then also romanticized in a problematic way. Perhaps the Romani character is a criminal, but he’s noble in other ways. Very few things in life and art are straightforward. This week, explain in 300 words what the film you’ve chosen implies about Gypsies.
As you watch the film you’re working with, take note of all the “Gypsy stereotypes” in the film and of how the characters and traits are presented. Are they sympathetic characters or not? Which qualities are “good” or “bad”? And which qualities are stereotypes? Use specific examples from the film to illustrate your point. For example: Jasmina the Romani girl steals, but she only because she’s starving and she only takes food from the villagers who try to bomb her village. She would rather go hungry than steal from that nice old lady down the road. This would be an example of a stereotypical Gypsy character, but she’s sympathetic, and it’s because there is 1. a context for her crimes, and b. she still has her own admirable moral code. But is she the only sympathetic Gypsy character? Is she an anomaly or the norm? Why might she be presented this way? What does it suggest about the community at-large?
Notice how the film’s use of logos (logic), ethos (ethics), and pathos (emotion) forms its implied argument. Jasmina’s example definitely uses all three: logos and ethos because she only steals from the people who oppress her, and pathos because she is desperate and would rather starve than wrong an innocent person.
The film you picked might make it’s argument by defying Romani stereotypes all-together. That’s important too! What does that suggest? And how is it done?
Madam Simza the heroine of Game of Shadows and she both defies and confirms stereotypes
Image from: www.imbd.com