COBRA GYPSIES. A DOCUMENTARY OF THE KALBELIYA


 By George Leon

Cobra Gypsies offers a contemporary and colorful window to the amazing ancient culture of the nomadic Kalbeliya tribes, living in rural Rajasthan, Northern India. The film explores their culture of eternal dance, syncopated music, snake charming, colorful fashion and the nomadic way of life of these exotic looking castoffs, ancestors to the modern Roma Gypsies living in Europe today.

 COBRA GYPSIES - full documentary

Cobra Gypsies seems like an amazing accidental ethnographic film and it is reminiscent of the aesthetics utilized by Nouvelle Vague visual anthropology filmmaker, Jean Rouch on documentaries like "Me a Black" (Moi, un Noir)"  but in a more transparent factual way.

Although, the Kailbelyas subjects posed for the camera like for a fashion editorial spread, the action permeates ingenuity and sets a frank connection between the Kailbeliya subject and the audience.

Raphael Treza, a French musician and filmmaker, creates in Cobra Gypsies not only a compelling documentary with an outstanding soundtrack, but a colorful digital postcard like journal, postmarked in Rajasthan for the whole world to see.

In 2010, the Kalbeliyas folk songs and dances of Rajasthan were declared a part of the Intangible Heritage List by the UNESCO 

You can hear the soundtrack here

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