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France, 1983 (MIFF 1985)

Director: Tony Gatlif

Les Princes is an exceptional first feature by someone who never expected to be allowed to make a film. "I must thank the French system which makes an allocation of money on the basis of the script and you don't have to show up until much later, when, even if they don't like you, it's too late!" Although the consciences of the committee had been pricked by the idea of making a film about gypsies, they never expected its budding director, with such a name and such a strong visual and literary imagination, to be a gypsy. The comedy that ensued would be well worth a movie although the success of the film and the fact that it came in under budget, and on perfect schedule, has meant that Gatlif has won a greater freedom of choice for his next film, which he hopes to shoot by the end of the year and which should involve a co-production with Algeria. The story of Les Princes revolves around the vicissitudes of a broken marriage and the character of a grandmother (magnificently played by a professional actress, Muse Dalbray), who eventually meets her maker by gorging herself on the plate of cuscus of her dreams. The performances and control are achieved with seeming ease by Gatlif, who is rather sceptical about previous Hollywood films made on similar subjects, for example, Angelo, My Love by Robert Duvall, and the many Quinn vehicles. He has some fond memories of one exception to the general rule: Nicholas Ray's Hot Blood.

- Don Ranvaud

See also...


Festival favourite Tony Gatlif (Vengo, MIFF 2001, Gadjo Dilo, MIFF 1998) returns with a meditative sunny and thoroughly enthralling new film. Enjoying an idyllic summer vacation in the Alsace ... More »


The final instalment in Tony Gatlif's gypsy trilogy, The Crazy Stranger follows 1993's critical and box office winner Latchmo Drom and Mondo (1995). St├ęphane is a handsome young Parisian ... More »


"A cry, a chant, a hymn to life, to love, to mourning and the price of blood," is how Tony Gatlif describes his latest feature, a beautifully brooding tale of a monumental feud between two warring ... More »


Exiles (Exils) France ... Winner of the Best Director prize at Cannes, Exiles is MIFF regular Tony Gatlif's (Swing, MIFF 2002) latest intoxicating, music fuelled, and most personal cinematic delight ... More »


Akerman's Man With a Suitcase, starring herself, is an unexpected mixture of Chaplinesque comedy and poignant self-mockery. ... Returning home to write a film script and desperately needing the ... More »

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