Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 7:30pm
Tony Gatlif's Latcho Drom

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, North Meadow
1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island

Latcho Drom, Tony Gatlif, 1993, digital projection, 103 mins

Bidding farewell to the summer, Light Industry and Snug Harbor will co-host a special outdoor screening of Tony Gatlif’s Latcho Drom. The critic Jonathan Rosenbaum once hailed the film as a “difficult-to-categorize masterpiece,” and indeed it slips gracefully past the familiar borders of genre. Here is a movie that is something akin to a musical, a documentary, and a travelogue, yet ultimately advances in an idiom all its own. Shot in fittingly expansive CinemaScope across shifting seasons and several continents, Latcho Drom is a Romani epic. It traces the thousand-year migration of a peripatetic people—its title translates to “Safe Journey”—beginning in India and moving, sequence by sequence, through Egypt, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, France, and Spain. Sparingly subtitled and unencumbered by narration or other didactic tropes of nonfiction cinema, this saga is instead expressed via the extraordinary rhythms of Romani music and dance, beating at the heart of every episode, a cavalcade of bangers. These performances serve as a source of continuity, springing forth from shared roots, while also showcasing the diversity of Romani cultural forms, each drawing upon different aspects of their respective settings. Latcho Drom is a work of many moods, though what prevails is an effervescent joy in the face of hardship. “I wanted to make a film that the Roms could be proud of,” the director, an Algerian-born French Romani, once explained, “a film that wouldn’t make a sideshow of their misery. I wanted to write a song of praise to this people I love.”


Seating is limited; registration required.

Alternate date in the event of rain: Saturday, September 25 at 7:30pm.