directed by Matteo Rovere
Every year on the 24th and 25th of May, the features of the French town Saintes Maries de la Mer completely change. The colors change, the sounds change: the people change. During those days, in fact, for many years (perhaps hundreds), thousands of Gypsies, Romani people and Manouches gather in the small streets of the city to celebrate Sara the Black, their patron saint, and the two Maries, Mary Salomé and Mary Jacobé.
This is the scenario of the film for Sara’s trip, an Italian journalist who, with the audience, enters the fascinating and unknown world of the Gypsies in the only time of the year where they come from all over the world and gather in one place.
The film is a 54’ long docufiction: the religious pilgrimage and the celebration of the gypsies are the backdrop to the personal experience of a young woman, Sara, who will try to understand this incredible people better.
But this is not just your usual documentary: the point of view is through the eyes of the young journalist who left to write a short piece about the event and found herself intrigued and involved personally, experiencing an unexpected human adventure, perhaps the first in her lifetime. The Gypsies: free men who choose, for necessity or by habit, to live with no fixed abode, wandering and roaming streets around the world. It is their spirit of community that guides them each year to Saintes-Maries de la Mer, in the Camargue, to celebrate their people and their Saint, immersed in the scenery of this beautiful and mysterious region.
They are days where moments of profound religious belief alternate with feasts full of singing, dancing and music. Notes from the violins and guitars fill the air of the town in a crescendo of tradition and spirituality.
The aim of the film is to tell the story of the celebration from a “traditional” Westerner’s point of view who, captivated by the event and above all by the people, is seduced by it. Her values and past will remain, but she will return home with something that changes her: in fact, she will observe the Gypsy people with a more knowledgeable eye, enriched by her direct experience with them.