Not gypsies, not tinkers, nor travellers or outcasts, the Roma tribe emanated from India and settled in Europe, bringing an alien culture into its midst. Resolutely holding onto their traditions, the Roma nobly carry on in the face of Western adversity. This is an account dedicated to bringing the truth of these people and the Romany way of life, with four seasons spent in the settlement of Hermanovce in Eastern Slovakia.
'Gypsies' is a term bandied about like the vampire bat, conjuring images of mystery, danger, repulsion, derision and disgust. Some call them tinkers, travellers, or even outcasts. They are all wrong. Their name is the Roma, a tribe that emanated from India and brought to Europe a culture infinitely alien to the people who lived there.
As once the culture of native North American Indians was regarded with hate and superstition, so too have the Romanies in Europe been harried and murdered and rejected as beyond the pale. But they have pursued their traditions with a tenacity unmatched by Western cultures of church or state.
Jarret Schecter sought to define those traditions, to encapsulate both the animation of Romany life and the dispossession of their culture in a so-called modern, civilized Europe. After three years he came to concentrate on the gypsy settlement of Hermanovce in Eastern Slovakia.
Over four seasons he has given the lie to prejudice and bigotry, but at the same time demonstrating the hunger and despair, the innate joy and camaraderie of the Roma in Hermanovce. It is not a voyage of love or romance, though the subjects themselves suggest it. It is rather the result of a singular dedication to a truth, and the reality of that truth.