Imagine you’re in Rome. A mother with a child holding her hand passes by you. The mother says “If you’re not good, I’ll give you to Romanians”. You’re looking at her in amazement. You are wondering if it’s only a coincidence or if it’s written on your face that you’re Romanian. She looks at you. She’s smiling. You’d like to say something, but the words stop in your throat. You’d like to say her you’re not bad, you didn’t kill anybody, you’re not stealing, you don’t want to rape anyone. Even though there are Romanians who do these things. They are just a few, but the newspapers are talking only about them. You are an invisible Romanian. You’re looking at the child you’re holding in your hand. Your child. Did she hear it? Did she understand that she’s a kind of bogeyman for the other child? So you’re thinking what you can do for her not to hear such things. Not to be ashamed for being a Romanian girl, not to scare anyone, not to make the other children avoid her, exclude her from their games, look at her badly. You’d like them to look at her as she is. A human being! (Excerpt from the book cartea ”Despre noi – 20 de răspunsuri la întrebarea – Ce vrei să te faci când vei fi mare?” / “About us – 20 answers to the question – What do you want to do when you grow up?” – e.n., by Ana Chiritoiu and Ana Ivasiuc, published by UNICEF and Agentia Impreuna, Romania, 2012).
12 movies from 11 European countries in the festival’s program
From April 17 to 22, European Film Week of the Invisible Roma invites the public to discover in exchange the stories and the history of the invisible Roma. 12 movies from 11 European countries with and about the invisible Roma people who speak by their thrilling actions and stories. We discover in these movies the courage of a Swedish activist fighting for the Roma people’s rights in Sweden, the stories of the Romani speakers in Austria and hoe these people choose to keep, send and make this language be heard, the story of some children and young people from the Czech Republic who found a way to get out from the ghetto through music, or the tragic story of a poet who betrayed the Roma secrets in Poland, and many other stories of the invisible Roma in Europe, intellectuals, TV producers or sellers. The invisible Roma people are much more numerous than this. It’s enough to look at them. As they are.
“We use the term of invisible Roma for those Roma who are working, who are educated and who are real citizens of the Romanian society, but who are not visible for the majority beside them. Unfortunately, one third of the Romanian people still declare they don’t want to have a Roma neighbor (Gipsy, only because this term is burdened by prejudices). Our approach’s urge to the spectator, either if he or she is a young Roma or a Romanian, a teacher, an activist or an invisible Roma (a human being), is to dare hoping that what he/she wants to be when he/she will grow up, can transform into reality, regardless of the problems he or she faces, either if these problems are material shortages or discrimination – or, most often, both of them, and to fight for a society where each person can reach its maximum potential without being the victim of the prejudices and stereotypes” said Gelu Duminica, the CEO of the Agentia Impreuna Foundation.
From the program:
The program of the European Film Week of the Invisible Roma will start on April 17 with “Geronimo” by Tony Gatlif (France), at the “Elvira Popescu” Cinema. The movie tells the story of a young social educator trying to ease the tensions between the young people in the St. Pierre district.
One of the first movies screened at the European Week of the Invisible Roma will be “Aferim!” by Radu Jude, a production awarded with the Best Direction Award at the Berlin Festival in 2015. In “Aferim!”, Costandin, a 19th-century tax collector, receive the task to chase and catch a Roma slave who ran from a boyar’s court.
The last screened movie in the festival is “Scrisori nescrise” (“Unwritten Letters” – e.n.) by Pavel Braila and Angelika Herta (Austria). The movie will be screened on April 22 at the Union Cinema and it portrays the Romani language as an extraordinary example of survival despite the social, economic, political and educational vicissitudes. By the stories of the various Romani speaker from Austria, Lithuania, Romania and Ukraine, spectators can see how – despite the assimilation pressures – these people choose to keep, send and make the Romani language be heard.
The series of movies is organized under the aegis of EUNIC Romania (European Union National Institutes for Culture), with the support of the embassies and partner cultural centers, and in collaboration with the Agentia Impreuna Foundation. The EUNIC members who contributed to this program are the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Embassy of Spain in Bucharest, the Embassy of Sweden in Bucharest, the Czech Center, the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Camões Institute, the Cervantes Institute, the French Institute, the Goethe Institute, the Italian Institute and the Polish Institute. Partners: European Commission, the Romanian Cinemateque, Cineclube do Porto, Plus East.