Transylvania Tony Gatlif

Transylvania Tony Gatlif

Here’s another one of Tony Gatlif’s crazy Roma freak outs, and like the last one it’s compulsively watchable while being completely ridiculous. You can’t ever claim to be bored though, as his characters throw caution to the wind (and alternately fuck their brains out) but you’ll be forgiven if you feel like scratching your head, cocking it to the side and wondering if Gatlif really thinks people like this exist. Chief amongst those people is Zingarina (Asia Argento), who arrives in Romania (and the eponymous region) in search of the man who knocked her up. When said boyfriend turns her down flat, she decides to "go native,” as it were; she takes up with travelling trader Tchangalo (Birol Unel) and chooses to drink, screw, drive around and otherwise raise hell until she actually gives birth. Gatlif is not without talent and he’s pretty much the only person who can give you these exhausting plate-smashing characters without driving you completely around the bend. And there’s no claiming the film lacks in incident, as the pair storm the countryside doing increasingly frantic things in the most full-throttle fashion imaginable. Still, one cries out for a little introspection. Zingarina and Tchangalo are people who clearly do not think before they act, and while that can make for zingy amour fou it can also get a little monotonous as our heroes engage in increasingly nutty exploits without provocation or purpose. Though Argento is superb at suggesting the layers beneath her largely on-the-surface role, it would take someone greater than Brando to make the film seem more credible than the crazed curio it turns out to be. (Mongrel Media)