‘A society daily subjected to foreign images eventually loses its identity and its capacity to forge its own identity.’Gaston Kabore, filmmaker
‘First of all, it is necessary to look for original settings, true stories, honest characters and bold sounds.’Galya Stoyanova, filmmaker
When we think of the historical and cultural roots of a community, we tend to imagine a web of intertwined cultural influences that have no single origin or starting point. Within this complex structure, every detail matters. Whether it is an excerpt from a song, a sentence or a historical event, each are equally important to remember. The ‘Roots’ subsection offers a glimpse into the living, ever-forming root system of Romani identities and the complex, diverse Roma community.
The films within this section do not seek to untangle this structure. Rather, they attempt to highlight its unique features and present illustrative examples. Through oral histories, personally recounted stories, tales, poems and myths, characters within the films depict segments of cultural heritage, Roma cultural identities, and regional and linguistic distinctions. The works were chosen based on the understanding that cultural heritage is formed through reinterpreting, reimagining and redrawing stereotypical representations present within Roma cultural film history.
Because the camera has the power to simultaneously reveal, hide or make visible reality, the creator of a film must be conscious of his or her ethical and aesthetic responsibilities. They should collaborate as a team player when expressing the collective past and cultural roots of a community. Both the camera and the director have a duty to present reality in a way that is acceptable for those who are standing in front of the camera. Additionally, the way in which the narrative is developed and the audio-visual tools utilised should create an environment that establishes a context for the independent interpretation of particular moments within the story or as part of a complex system of cultural codes.
A moment, a look or a dialogue can establish connections to the actor’s own story, suggesting a collective past and the living cultural roots of a community. In this sense, the ‘Roots’ collection is an example of the vibrant and constantly evolving root system of Roma communities.