‘Gypsy’ is Slovak Oscar entry

Martin Sulik's film in Romany language

PRAGUE — Martin Sulik’s “Gypsy” has been submitted for Oscar foreign-lingo consideration by the Slovak Film and Television Academy.

The coming-of-age tale about a 14-year-old Roma youth has won over major regional critics, scoring a special jury prize and honors for leading actor Jan Mizigar at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in July. It also played at Toronto.

The film clearly touched local auds, earning, according to producer Rudolf Biermann, an estimated $270,000 — a hefty total for a small country with fewer than 20 multiplexes.

Gypsy,” while offering a story and characters that seem to have universal appeal, was not intended as commercial fare, said Sulik, who wanted to capture the life of Roma people who face deep suspicion and systematic marginalization in Slovakia.

For that reason he insisted that his characters speak Romany. “I had an interpreter by my side the whole time,” Sulik said.

Many Slovaks know nothing about Roma culture, Sulik added, “because they have no interest. We wanted to initiate some discussion of this problem. I think this discussion is starting slowly.”

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