In 1979, the U.N. recognized the gypsies as an ethnic group under the general name “Rom”, and granted a consulting role to the Union of Rom. “Rom” can be understood as gypsy, or even as a different way of life.
In his film, Menelaos Karamaghiolis attempts to trace the evolution of the gypsy race in Europe, particularly in Greece, through four different points of view. These are expressed in the narrations of four people: the Teacher, the Photographer, Tamara, the old gypsy lady and the young girl Aima.
The Teacher investigates the possible roots of the “Rom” and their development through the course of time, by analyzing fragmentary reports in the margins of history. The Photographer, through his lens, plays the part of a contemporary historian, trying to capture the present on film. He presents these people with both past history and memory, as, they never had a written tradition, nor retained any official records. The women represent the two opposite sides of gypsy life: One deeply superstitious, totally involved in legends and fairy tales and the other more modern, looking towards the future and possibly towards a new identity.
The four narrations alternate, without following a linear order. Authentic gypsy tales are interpolated with actual scenes from contemporary gypsy life, bringing out the peculiarities of their traditions in religious and magical rituals, in weddings and death ceremonies, in feasts and work.
The narrative structure of the film, with its endless reversals of sequences, is bound together with persisting leitmotivs of image and music. Thus, a new dimension is born, which does not follow logical patterns, but steps in the realm of adventure, and by insisting on the charm of the trivial, becomes relative to gypsy fairy tales.
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY : Menelaos KARAMAGHIOLIS
SCIENTIFIC ADVISORS : Miranda TERZOPOULOU, Katerina POUTOU, Vangelis MARCELOS, Maria HATZIGEORGIOU
CINEMATOGRAPHY : Andreas SINANOS, Ilias KONSTANTAKOPOULOS
EDITING : Takis GIANOPOULOS
MUSIC : Nikos KIPOURGOS
SOUND : Dimitris ATHANASOPOULOS, Dimitris KASIMATIS
NARRATORS : Electra ALEXANDROPOULOU, George KONSTAS, Menelaos KARAMAGHIOLIS, Marika DZIRALIDOU
and the children: Ifigenia ΑNASTASIADI, Vangelis ΤΖΑΝΑΤOS
PRODUCTION MANAGER : Giovanna TEMBOU
LINE PRODUCER : Sotiris KARAMAGHIOLIS
SOUND-MIX: Thimios KOLOKOUSIS
ETALONAGE: Apostolos ARHONTAS
COMPUTER GRAPHICS : Giorgos ARGIROILIOPOULOS
SINGERS : Kostas PAVLIDIS, Kostas DIMITIRIOU, Dora MASKLAVANOU
ΜUSICIANS : Stella KIPRAIOU, Alexandros KIPRIDIS, Michalis VORIAS, Vasilis PAPAVASILIOU, Nikos GINOS
WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF THE ARTISTS OF THE CIRCUS «WILLIAMS»
Antonio & Roberto FORMISANO PASQUALE & Luigi & Maria & Alessandro & Antonio LA VEGLIA
The cleverness and beauty of ROM makes it for me one of the absolute masterpieces of the history of cinema, together with (for example) some films by Chris Marker, jean-Luc Godard or “O Bom Povo” by Rui Simons.
ROM is a masterpiece that must become a classic of the history of cinema, Vive le cinéma grec !
Nicole BRENEZ, curator of the Cinémathèque française’s avant-garde film series,
“After the screening of Rom at the Cinémathèque Française”, 17-6-16
“Rom” is not a simple documentary about gypsies, it is an outstanding poetic audiovisual treatise. The principal axle is the eye of the director. These two viewpoints form a creative movement touching on magic, myth, and the sociological and historical reality of a people. But above all, the electrifying dancing motion and beauty of the gypsy race is presented through an expert imagery and a matching sound track.
Newspaper “KATHIMERINI”, 04-10-89
Karamaghiolis plays with the camera, with the colours and the faces. His images dance to sensitive cords and swing to the melodies of humanism. Great tension!
Newspaper “RIZOSPASTIS”, 04-10-89
“We didn’t want to miss a scene !”
Menelaos Karamaghiolis’ film the “ROM” is an almost perfectly accurate description of the gypsies. It is the sort of film that one watches sitting tensely at the edge of a chair from fear of loosing a single scene.
Newspaper “APOGEUMATINI”, 05-10-89
In a full house, the public watched in silence and great respect the dramatized documentary “Rom”. Every detail in this work had been executed with great gusto amd this was apparent to the applauding audience, who shouted “bravo” long after the show was over.
Newspaper “EPIKAIROTITA”, 05-10-89
The historical itinerary of a people, the rough lyricism of their language, the idols and objects accompanying them and their underlying connection with myth, are the elements composing Menelaos Karamaghiolis’ excellent film. His close inquiry into the various activities of the gypsies captures the audience right from the start, without however offering easy material to look at. He obviously has the ability to unravel and present those hidden details combining symbols with real poetry, and the multi -dimentional significance of the visual with the charm of the object itself; in this case a people who survive under constantly changing skies.
Newspaper “ELEFTHEROS TYPOS”, 04-10-89
“A surprise documentary !”
In Greece, we do not have the opportunity to see documentaries of such quality and this gives a greater significance to “Rom”. The imagery of the film records, exceptionally well, the myth through the history and contradictions of gypsy life.
Newspaper “MESEMBRINI”, 04-10-89
The dramatized documentary “Rom”, directed by Menelaos Karamaghiolis impressed the audience. The film uplifts the audiance. While offering interesting information and entertaiment. These qualities are the result of excellent directing impregnated by knowledge, vision and poetry. The structural achievements combined with good collaboration gives the audience the opportunity to see how a good documentary is done.
Newspaper “THESSALONIKI”, 04-10-89
Karamaghiolis’ documentary uplifts, and even becomes eery as it unravels the pagan element of a simple life, bound with fatalism, always ambulant and always experienced through magic, but with devotion to oral traditions. The gypsies of this powerful and poetic documentary appear as a windly beautiful people, who survive illicitly “outside the city walls”.
Newspaper “AUGI”, October 4
The documentary “Rom” received great applause Tuesday evening in a packed hall, at the Society for Macedonian Studies. The audience cheered the director Menelaos Karamaghiolis and his collaborators, and everyone seemed to agree that “Rom” was indeed a wonderful film.
Newspaper “ELEFTHEROS TYPOS”, 05-10-89
“Rom” was met with great enthousiasm the night before last. The young director was cheered and applauded by everyone in the hall.
Newspaper “PROTI” 05-10-89
Karamaghiolis main achievement is that everyone admits that Rom is a turning point in Greek documentary films’ history…
“CRITICAL GUIDE TO EUROPEAN DIRECTORS”, Wallpaper publication, 2000