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  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Romanian: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Teaser trailer - Monsoon Wedding, Vengo, Satin Rouge, Swing
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Filmographies - for writer/director Tony Gatlif

Gadjo Dilo

Madman Entertainment/AV Channel . R4 . COLOR . 97 mins . MA15+ . PAL


Gadjo Dilo or The Crazy Stranger is the latest offering from writer/director Tony Gatlif and he once again takes us head on into the gypsy world, capturing the character, culture and colour.

97 minutes is a perfect duration for a film – it’s not too long and not too short – however, Gadjo Dilo still takes its time in plodding through the script, resulting in a rather tedious 97 minutes. It’s funny because the insight into this vastly different culture (to our own) is immensely fascinating, however the slow pacing caused this reviewer to mentally wander off himself. This is actually rather frustrating as this glimpse into another culture is appealing with the potential to be spiritually rewarding, however it’s just so hard to stick with it, and the meandering plot doesn’t help either.

Set in Romania, it tells the story of Stephane (Duris), a young Frenchman, who travels to Romania in search of Nora Luca, a famous gypsy singer who his late father listened intently to. On his travels, he meets Isidor (Serban), an elderly gypsy, who is angered at the government for locking up his son. He takes Stephane back to his gypsy village and, the following morning, Stephane is the object of the gypsy village’s curiosity. With a big language barrier between Stephane and the gypsy village, communication is difficult and sometimes quite humorous, resulting in a rambling goose chase over the snow-strewn winter in Romania in search of Luca. At the village, Stephane meets the firey-tempered Sabina (Hartner), a strong-willed young woman in the village, with whom after a stormy first meeting, some fireworks ignite. But that’s not the last spark this gypsy village will see...

The Office of Film and Literature Classification will never cease to amaze me either – MA for a sex scene and sexual references, but not for language at all? Being a subtitled film, reading some of the language in this film is rather shocking, causing a burning of the eyes, rather than the ears. Ooh my...

Of notable interest is the severe lack in detailed chapter points, with the 97 minute duration receiving a scarce eight chapter breaks. This makes the average chapter approximately 12 minutes long, meaning that if you stop the DVD, take it out and need to restart without remembering the exact time, you’re up that brown coloured creek without a paddle. Now, can you tell who did that? It’s odd to notice, however, that The Monkey’s Mask, another Madman release, suffers the same fate of lengthy chapters, however The Monkey’s Mask itself is at least broken into bite-sized chapters, making those breaks sensible.


Madman’s transfer is up to their usual high standards, presented in an anamorphically enhanced format, but offering us a rather odd widescreen aspect. On a widescreen television with plenty of overscan, there’s no problem at all – things look 1.78:1, however on a DVD-ROM, things look a little closer to 1.66:1 yet the framing of the picture makes me think that this is roughly the original theatrical aspect. Colours are generally rather dull and bland, yet this is used as an artistic device to exacerbate the sultry saturation of the brightest reds, luscious yellows and warm blues. Blacks are rather nicely mastered too, showing only the slightest unsettlement of low level noise. The detail of the image is rather nice, boasting a rich and clear image, yet at times falls a little on the soft side. Edges suffer most from this softness, sometimes showing slight compression artefacts along some fast-moving or sharply defined edges. Subtitles are presented in a very neat and easy to read yellow font, but, like Nine Queens, seem a little squashed, as if the anamorphic enhancement has played tricks on the DVD authors. Nevertheless, the overall video quality is easily watchable with only a few minor complaints, with the transfer fitting easily on a single layer.


The sole Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded track is our only option, with a language option of French/Romanian. Now, just to clarify, these aren’t the same language – the dialogue has some parts in French and others in Romanian. Ah, thanks Mr. Marty for that one. Anyway, dialogue appears in synch for the entire film, however the accuracy of the dialogue to subtitle conversion cannot be tested by this English speaker. Coming cleanly from the centre channel, the dialogue healthily balances the soundstage, with most of the effects coming from the front half of the soundstage. The rear channels carry the matrixed ambience and offer a slight enveloping quality but nothing aurally stunning.


After the 4:3 Madman introduction screens, the Gadjo Dilo 16:9 menus load, static and silent. From here you can access the lonely extra features page containing a two page filmography for Tony Gatlif, a 1:36 theatrical trailer and the usual Madman Propaganda consisting of trailers for Monsoon Wedding, Satin Rouge, Vengo and Swing.


For those open to slow-paced foreign films, Gadjo Dilo is worth a watch as it beautifully captures a snapshot in to the Gypsy culture. Yet even at 97 minutes, Gadjo Dilo or The Crazy Stranger led to “The Slightly Bored Reviewer”, whose mind is still rather mixed on this film. Madman’s transfer is up to their usual standards, capably presenting the film with a 16:9 transfer, yet sadly the extra features are rather trivial. If you've run the local video shop's 'foreign' section dry, why not take The Crazy Stranger home? Oh, and you can take Gadjo Dilo too...

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=2591
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      And I quote...
    "...even at 97 minutes, Gadjo Dilo or The Crazy Stranger led to “The Slightly Bored Reviewer”..."
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS530
    • TV:
          Sharp SX76NF8 76cm Widescreen
    • Receiver:
          Sony HT-SL5
    • Speakers:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony SS-CNP2
    • Surrounds:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony SA-WMSP3
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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