The film Queen of the Gypsies based on Gorky’s
novella Makar Chudrais the only screen version of Gorky’s “Gypsy
stories” — but may be the best possible ever.
there are not so many illustrations with Radda.
of the Gypsies has been released in 1976 and at once has become a
box-office hit: allmost 65 millions of viewers! The film has been
bought by 112 countries (and that’s a record) and has got several
cinema awards, such as a Golden Shell of Saint Sebastien Festival.
Critics point out the ethnographic mistakes. Indeed, there are
several. But in the main, the film is successful. After all, Queen
of the Gypsies is not a visual aid but a fantasy story based on Romani history.
So, few words on Radda’s costumes in the film.
Moldavian film director has used a mixture of different Romani
lifestyles. He has had only two aims: to make a romantic colourful
picture and to leave a recognizable Gypsy image. All songs in the
film are of Ruska Roma, and clothes are based on costumes of
Romanian and Hungarian Gypsies.
In the centre of the
story is Toma’s character, Radda, a proud young beauty. Her costumes
(designed by Mikael Antonyan) are still the models for creating
Gypsy dresses in theatres and cinema. What’s the cause of such a
Radda both with braids and loose hair. And that’s historically true.
A wild thick mane is a traditional adornment of Romani girls. And
when they has used to go with braids, they has decorated them with
ribbons, beads and so on. The film creators have used both versions
and that really make Radda’s image magic and Gypsy.
We also see Radda in a crown made of golden coins. That’s fantasy.
You can view thousands of portraits of Gypsy women made by their
contemporaries and no one of those women will have a coin crown. But
indeed the designer’s fantasy is not far from realty. Gypsy women
from Romania used to sew coins on edges of their kerchieves, and
when the kerchieves were made of dark fabric, Gypsies looked like if
they had crowns on heads.
The pipe has been presented by a
Polish landlord. Radda smokes so unconstrainedly that we understand:
she smokes since her childhood. It’s shameful for girls of Russka
Roma. But in Romania and Hungary Gypsy girls began to smoke and to
walk at the same time.
Radda’s coin necklace
An indicative Gypsy thing.
It is a loan from East European peoples. And it is beautiful and
attractive. Lotyanu is often criticized for forgetting Gypsy
customs: in real caravans only married women may put on coin
necklaces, and girls put on only beads. But Queen of the Gypsies is
a fantasy film. All girls there have coin necklaces on, even little
ones. I guess that’s OK in such a film.
Excellent. It’s used absolutely
Radda’s waistcoat of
It appears only once, when Zobar meets
Radda for the first time. You can see such waistcoats at old
pictures of Gypsies.
In the film, Radda appears with three
different blouses. They all are not ethnographically true. A light
blouse and a red one bare a belly. That’s not a Romani historical
style. The third blouse is made of fabric covered with such an
ornament which couldn’t exist in the beginning of the XX century.
But a shape of sleeves is true Romani. In whole, the blouses make a
very Gypsy impression.
Radda’s coin belt
It’s a fantasy and has no
analogues in real Romani costumes.
One of the most beautiful
scenes in the film — Radda spreading her numerous colourful skirts
at a bank of river. The skirts are made in a real Romani style, with
The main thing in a Gypsy girl’s footgear is its absence. Though
Radda has shoes on her feet when walking in a town, out of town she
is barefoot. And it crowns blazing and so Gypsy Radda’s image..