And the Violins Stopped Playing (I skrzypce przestaly grac)
Movie depicting a real story about a group of Romani people who are forced to flee from the persecuting forces of the Nazis at the height of the Porajmos (Romani holocaust), during World War II.
|Written, Directed and Produced by||Alexander Ramati|
|Music consultant||Unislawa Glazewska|
|Distributed by||Orion Television Distributer|
|Running time||116 min.|
|Country||United States / Poland|
The story opens in 1941 Poland, with Dymitr Mirga, a prominent Gypsy violin player, entertaining a group of Nazis in a restaurant. At first the Nazis enjoy the entertainment and assure the musicians that the ongoing removal of the region's Jews is being conducted for the sake of the Romani. However, Dymitr Mirga soon realizes the truth, and asks the head of the Gypsy community to lead its evacuation into Hungary, which that time has no Nazis. The leader is reluctant to comply, and the community's council eventually forces him to resign, giving his position instead to Dymitr Mirga. The son of the deposed leader has been betrothed to a beautiful Romani named Zoya Natkin; but she now chooses to marry Dymitr Mirga's son, Roman Mirga. On their ensuing journey to Hungary, some of the Gypsies desert and are massacred by the Nazis. Others voluntarily split off, in hopes that in smaller numbers they will appear to be merchants rather than Gypsies. Dymitr Mirga's small company eventually sells their jewels to buy horses from another Romani community - a great sacrifice, but necessary to enable them to move quickly. Many are nevertheless killed by the Nazis. The sympathetic population gives them burials and provides a chance for their comrades to meet and mourn their loss.
In time, the resolute Dymitr Mirga reaches Hungary with his much diminished group of followers, including his wife, his son and daughter-in-law Roman and Zoya, Zoya's family and Roman's "rival," the son of the former leader, who has been killed by Nazis. All Dymitr Mirga's efforts go for nought, however, when the Nazis finally invade Hungary in 1944. A Nazi column takes the Romani in cattle trucks to concentration camps, where the infamous Col. Kruger conducts horrifying experiments on prisoners. Before their arrival, Dymitr Mirga's daughter escapes out through the window of one of the cattle trucks. At the camp. Dymitr Mirga is forced to play for the Nazis, whilst his son Roman receives minor privileges because of his skill as a translator. However, when Roman's wife Zoya dies, the young man begins to consider his father's urging that he escape. Roman approaches his friend and former rival, and recognizing that their families are marked for death, the two agree to make an attempt. The attempt succeeds, and they manage to reconnect with Roman's younger sister who escaped from the cattle truck.
The film ends with the war over. As three Romani carriages head off into a sunset, carrying—we assume—Roman, his friend and his younger sister, the narrator concludes that the "Gypsy nation has yet to receive any compensation."