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Japigia Gagi: Roma Stories cover photo

Japigia Gagi: Roma Stories 2003


Distributed by Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources, 101 Morse Street, Watertown, MA 02472; 617-926-0491
Produced by Produced by Giovanni Princigalli
Directed by Director n/a
VHS, color, 88 min.

Sr. High - Adult
Japan, Popular Culture, Music Trade, Singers

Date Entered: 05/27/2005

ALA Notable:
Reviewed by: Reviewed by Ernarosa Tominich, MLS, Trocaire College Library, Buffalo NY

He proudly holds a stained white cloth over his head, proof of his daughter’s virginity the day after the nuptials. Gypsy music plays. Yes, an ancient tradition, yes old fashioned, but that is exactly what Gypsy culture is - old and proud and full of life - even in the midst of tent-city squalor.

Danief tells about ravenous hunger. Aida has dreams of being a model. Then there is the story of Dorina, the bride of a negotiated marriage agreement.

Nostalgic ballads of Rumania; marriage as young as age twelve; living on church land or under bridges, such is the nomad life of the Roma (gypsies). The specter of hunger turns them to street-corner beggars as they etch out an existence in Japigia, a community of Bari, Italy. Whole families beg, including small children. Humanitarian groups attempt to convince the Roma to send their children to school. The local church offers them a piece of land but the town hall has plans for a future railway station and refuses to accommodate them. It seems that the Roma are mostly a nuisance as Japigia attempts to deal with a growing over-saturation of Roma immigrants.

This documentary-expose results from the filmmakers’ experiences as they lived for one year among the Roma in a world that ignores, shuns, or evicts gypsies. The filmmakers capture the vibrant essence of clan living conditions and culture as well as a quest for human decency and respect.

The sound, quality and color of this film are acceptable as is the sequential presentation of events and credits. The dialogue is chiefly in Italian with English subtitles which somewhat distracts from the overall flavor of the presentation

Japigia Gagi: Roma Stories is recommended and was presented at 14 international film festivals and conferences.

Story of a Beautiful Country