THE PRINCES (1983) [Feature]

France (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

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