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Radda in illustrations



Radda, Queen of the Gypsies
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Radda, Queen of the Gypsies
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Radda and Zobar, video

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.

Also there are not so many illustrations with Radda.

Queen 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.


The 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 success?


Radda’s hair

We see 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.


Radda’s pipe

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.


Radda’s shawl

Excellent. It’s used absolutely aptly.


Radda’s waistcoat of sheepskin

It appears only once, when Zobar meets Radda for the first time. You can see such waistcoats at old pictures of Gypsies.


Radda’s blouses

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.


Radda’s skirts

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 wide flounces.


Radda’s feet

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..




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