SUSPINO: A Cry for Roma
DirectorGillian Darling Kovanic
ProducersTamarin Productions Gillian Darling Kovanic
- Release Date 2003
- Running Time Various
- Closed Captions Yes
- Availability Canada
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SUSPINO: A Cry for Roma takes an unflinching look at the persecution that continues to plague Europe's largest and most vilified minority. With the fall of communism and rise of right-wing nationalism, the Roma (or Gypsies as they are pejoratively called) have become scapegoats for Eastern Europe's nascent democracies. Because of violent conflicts and discrimination, tens of thousands of Eastern European Roma are fleeing their countries.
The film focuses on Romania where Europe's largest concentration of Roma are considered 'public enemies,' and Italy, where the Roma are classified as nomads and relegated to living in camps. Here they are denied basic human rights available to refugees and foreign residents. Aiming to create a Gypsy-free Romanian town, a mayor tries to move local Roma into an abandoned chicken farm, encircled with barbed wire and patrolled by guards with dogs. A Roma family gathers in a Transylvanian graveyard to mourn the deaths of three brothers murdered in an earlier pogrom that also saw the destruction of 21 of their houses. In a squalid trailer camp 10 kilometers from Vatican City, a young Roma couple that fled persecution in Romania is trying to build a new life. Instead they end up begging to feed their children. Their nightmare worsens when the mayor of Rome decides to bulldoze the camp to the ground.
A Romanian Roma activist seeking asylum in Canada tells a heart-breaking story of a pogrom against his community back home, and explains that this international human rights crisis has its roots in 500 years of Roma slavery in Eastern Europe. Romania hopes to enter the European Union by 2008 but first must improve its treatment of minorities, especially the Roma. But what hope is there for the Roma when gatekeeper countries like Italy are also in flagrant violation of human rights conventions?
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