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In comparison to the West, there is not much material documenting the life of Romanies in Russia, and traditionally they have not made films about themselves.
But long before 'going celluloid,' the Romani people or 'tzyigane' have been immortalized by some of the greatest Russian writers.
Depicted almost exclusively in romantic colours in the works of Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Gorky and Bunin, they became the symbol of freedom and were seen as a positive alternative, as the Russian classic description goes, to the 'loathsomeness' of Russian life.
Films about the Roma can be divided into two categories, depending on the position of Gypsies or Romani culture in relation to the film as a whole.
Films such as Poslednii tabor / The Last Camp (Moisei Goldblat and Yevgeni Shneider, USSR, 1936), Dorogoi tsenoi /At Great Cost (Mark Donskoi, USSR, 1957), Lautary (Emil Loteanu, USSR, 1972), Tabor ukhodit v nebo/ Gypsies Are Found Near Heaven (Emil Loteanu, USSR, 1976), Tsygan / Gypsy (Alexander Blank, USSR, 1979), Tsyganskoye shchast'e/Gypsy Happiness (Sergei Nikonenko, USSR, 1983), Vozvrashchenie Budulaia/The Return of Budulay (Alexander Blank, USSR, 1985), Tsyganka Assa/Assa the Gypsy (Grigori Kokhan, USSR, 1987), Gadjo (Dmitrii Svetozarov, Russia, 1993), Ia vinovat /It's My Fault (Dufunya Vishnevskiy, Russia, 1993), Greshnye apostoly lyubvi /The Sinful Apostles of Love (Dufunya Vishnevskiy, Russia, 1995) almost entirely focus on Russian Gypsies.
Despite several fistfights at the beginning, by the end of the film everyone gets along just beautifully.