In the heart of Europe, a captivating mini-series unfolds, offering an intimate exploration into the vibrant tapestry of traditions and culture that define the Roma people. From the nomadic whispers of ancient caravans to the pulsating rhythms of timeless music, Roma’s Stories’ chronicles the untold stories, resilient spirit, and enduring traditions of the Roma community. Through captivating narratives, poignant interviews, and breathtaking visuals, this documentary mini-series unveils the rich heritage, challenges, and triumphs of a people whose traditions are as diverse as the landscapes they traverse. “Roma’s Stories’ is a journey into the soul of a culture, shedding light on the profound impact of Roma traditions on the world stage and the resilient spirit that binds generations together against the backdrop of a rapidly changing world.
Just as any other day
The first episode of our documentary mini-series dedicated to the traditions and culture of the Roma minority features Lali Gabor as the main character.
His real name is Lajos Gabor, an expert in working with metal, creator of unique objects, Lali has gained recognition through his exhibitions in museums and multiple appearances in various TV shows.
The documentary film thus introduces us to the simple and authentic world of the Gabor family, Lali becoming our guide on a unique journey, revealing lesser-known aspects of his family life and the way in which he brings his objects to life.
In this setting, we watch as Lali dedicates his life to creating objects that combine tradition with innovation. His studio becomes an extension of his cultural identity, a place where the age-old traditions of his people are preserved and reinvented.
The Gabor family, at the centre of this foray, plays a key role in Lali’s life and, by extension, in the perpetuation of Roma traditions. In the stillness of their traditional lives, a simple yet profound story of a community that retains its authenticity despite the challenges of modernity takes shape.
Thus, the first episode of this mini-documentary series gives us an honest glimpse of a traditional world, where art, family and customs, are woven into an authentic picture of Roma culture.
Art, Music and Education
Art, Music and Education, is the second episode of our mini-series of documentaries focusing on the culture and traditions of the Roma minority.
We have a painter by the name of Eugen Raportoru – the first painter of Roma origin to exhibit at the Venice Biennale. Through his vibrant colours and captivating compositions, he opens a window into his inner world, reflecting not only the aesthetic beauty but also the richness and complexity of the Roma cultural experience.
Then, in another corner of the country, we discover the inspirational story of an afterschool teacher, Tudor Lakatos or Elvis Romano. With deep roots in Roman culture, he turns learning into a vibrant performance, teaching children not just school lessons but cultural values and identity.
The music composed by Elvis Presley thus becomes a language of the heart, translated into Romanes, bringing together past and present in a trans-generational “love me tender” song.
Last but not least, we have a brass band, touring the countries of Western Europe, leaving behind a strong sonic and cultural imprint. With traditional rhythms and specific instruments, the Transylvanian Fanfare becomes the ambassador of an authentic musical heritage, demonstrating that Roma culture does not stop at geographical borders.
Roma culture and its extremely complex values are seen through the lenses of these three varied forms of artistic expression.
The third episode of our documentary mini-series dedicated to the traditions and culture of the Roma minority brings into the spotlight the stories of three Roma artists from distinct social backgrounds. These women join forces in an artistic journey exploring Roma identity and cultural heritage.
Each of the protagonists brings her unique perspective, highlighting the diversity of the Roma community and the richness of its traditions. They share a common passion for art and an unwavering determination to share their creations with a wider audience.
Music, dance and contemporary independent theatre become the means through which these artists express their vision of the world. Each art form explores relevant themes of Roman culture, bringing to the fore not only traditions but also contemporary and future perspectives.
The episode is a fascinating foray into the world of the arts, offering a detailed look at how these women, reinterpret and redefine the culture they come from, in an urban, cool and contemporary setting.
From musical rhythms that blend the traditional with the modern, to dance movements that tell ancient stories in contemporary language, to independent theatre performances that explore the challenges and aspirations of the Rome community, this episode brings together a diverse palette of artistic expression.
Through them, the show becomes an open window into the heart and soul of a rich and complex culture.
Episode four of the documentary mini-series dedicated to the traditions and culture of the Roma minority brings to the fore a sensitive and deeply relevant topic. The focal point of this episode is the area known as Pata-Rat, a marginal settlement on the outskirts of Cluj-Napoca.
In the midst of this seemingly forgotten reality, both by the authorities and by the city’s inhabitants, a small group of brave and dedicated people, inspired activists from the ranks of the Rome community, become the heroes of this story.
They engage in a tireless struggle to restore dignity and hope to a Roma community on the edge of subsistence. At the heart of the debate are the pressing social issues facing this community, highlighting the inequalities and challenges faced by the people of Pata-Rat.
Their struggle becomes an example to us all. They are not just fighting for a marginalised community, but for a profound change in social consciousness. Thus, the episode highlights that this initiative is not just a cause but a way of life for these courageous activists, making them worthy role models for the entire society.
From his traditional backyard studio to prestigious exhibitions in Europe, it’s not a short step.
The visual and conceptual spectacle of Victor Clopotar’s works will capture the hearts of the European public. Viewers will discover how art and tradition blend harmoniously in the hands of this skilful craftsman, in a captivating journey through his creative universe.
Episode five brings to the fore not only remarkable design objects, but also moving stories of collaboration, tradition and passion for beauty that transcend cultural boundaries.
Victor Clopotar is not only a skilled craftsman, but also a valued collaborator with internationally renowned artists and designers. Our episode reveals the fascinating behind-the-scenes of his creative process, in which the tradition of manual craftsmanship is interwoven with the contemporary innovations and visions of various talents in the world of contemporary art and design.
At the heart of all his work is a love of family, an element that transcends cultural and social boundaries. Thus, the character reveals how interpersonal connections and family relationships become essential in Victor Clopotar’s creative process, adding a deep and authentic touch to each of his works.
BEHIND THE SCENES
ABOUT THE FINANCING ENTITIES
The EEA Grants represent the contribution of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway towards a green, competitive and inclusive Europe. There are two overall objectives: reduction of economic and social disparities in Europe, and to strengthen bilateral relations between the donor countries and 15 EU countries in Central and Southern Europe and the Baltics. The three donor countries cooperate closely with the EU through the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA). The donors have provided €3.3 billion through consecutive grant schemes between 1994 and 2014. For the period 2014-2021, the EEA Grants amount to €1.55 billion. More details are available on: www.eeagrants.org and www.eeagrants.ro.
RO-CULTURE is implemented in Romania by the Ministry of Culture through the Project Management Unit. The Programme aims at strengthening social and economic development through cultural cooperation, cultural entrepreneurship and cultural heritage management. The total budget amounts to almost 34 million EUR. For more details access: www.ro-cultura.ro