1. bookVolume 68 (2020): Issue 4 (December 2020)
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30 Mar 2019
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access type Open Access

Cinematic Representation of the Roma’s Social Position and Mobility: A Comparative Analysis of Two Czech and Slovak Feature Films

Published Online: 05 Jan 2021
Page range: 379 - 396
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
30 Mar 2019
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

The focus of this article is on two Czech and Slovak films, My Friend Fabián (Můj přítel Fabián, 1955) and Gypsy (Cigán, 2011). While the former emerged in the 1950s, in the period of socialist industrialisation, the latter was released in the period of post-socialist consolidation of capitalism. Theoretically this article relies on a mix of approaches from film studies, social anthropology, post-colonial studies and archival research. The central research question is how cinematic representation of Roma were approached in the past and how they have changed over time. The film My Friend Fabián is replete with colonial tropes of uninhibited dancing, singing and exotica stereotypes and depicts imaginary Roma as incompetent individuals who are subject to the paternalistic care of the White socialist functionaries. At the same time this film presents a viable model for Roma integration and social advancement via education and full-fledged integration into the working class. In contrast, the film Gypsy is much more respectful towards Roma, contemporary performers and characters are real Roma and their film destinies are realistic. But the world that surrounds film characters is the world of total racial exclusion, which offers no hope and no prospects whatsoever for Roma and their social advance.

Keywords

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