The gypsies of the title aren't nomadic, they live in a community as isolated as insular, and the shabby mortar buildings they call home often take on the importance of castles in a Shakespearean play. This film's Hamlet, a teen named Adam, is the eldest of his siblings and we meet him just as his father has died or been killed—the nature of this death, like most moral conundrums, is never made explicit. Out of concern for her children, Adam's mother instantly and absently remarries her brother-in-law, surrounding everything with the stifling, stink of incest. Adam's uncle/father is questionable, the inverse of his heroic predecessor. Dad was an assistant to the police: "Dad" is a swindler, smuggler, reseller, thief. Adam's biological father returns to him in dreams, leaving him food to substantiate his fantasies and reaffirm that blood is thick and can't be diluted. While his new guardian admonishes his father's adoration for "whitey" and declares the gypsy path as one where clothes, petrol and women are sold and stolen, Adam sees his teen crush bought by a Czech man to salvage her family's financial woes. The urgency for Adam is beautifully tenuous—if he goes, he abandons the mother and family he's left school to support, if he stays he lives in silent moral struggle with a guardian who demands he embrace lawlessness as his shameful birthright. Though punctuated for commercial breaks, Gypsy is surprisingly dense, its squalor provides a narrative clarity for the coming-of-age travails more typically depicted as soft and indirect. In choosing his heritage, Adam also chooses not to be the good in the world. Virtue was the super-power handed to him by his father and it lights the path for him and those around him. It's more than idealism, but it's no less murky and easy to lose than any other value left alongside the winding bus route to town.
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Cast: Miroslav Gulyas, Martina Kotlarova, Jan Mizigar
Director: Martin Sulík
Screenwriters: Marek Lescák, Martin Sulík
Producer: Martin Sulík, Rudolf Biermann
Genre: Drama; Romany- and Slavic-languages, subtitled
Running time: 100 min.