Buzescu, a village born in Romania from the dust of nowhere, in the open countryside 150 km from Bucharest and which, founded in 1857, has expanded to become a small town with just under 5000 inhabitants only about fifteen years ago. Crossing the imaginary threshold of Buzescu, you enter a sort of free zone that belongs almost exclusively to the Rom people. This family was at the same time stolen from a son, a husband and a brother.
The Rom people who guard the homes of Buzescu during the year are for the most part elderly and have children and grandchildren in Europe and around the world. They guard on behalf of the family these palatul tiganilor, rulers of the gypsies, who compete with each other in exhibiting the status and wealth of the owners. But on the occasion of special events such as weddings or, in this case, funerals, all the family members return home, to stay together and share happiness or despair.
These people are able to share their pain with me, even if they hardly know me. It is as if a nomadic DNA enabled them to share despair with other human beings, to lighten the load. And so much despair has as its soundtrack the sad and melancholy music of a group of elderly musicians who, urged by the head of the family, have been performing harrowing pieces for hours that evoke exodus and abandonment, common and dear themes to Balkan music.
Like an anachronistic frame to pain, Gothic turrets, capitals, arches with multicolored plasters, metal coats of arms praising money, family effigies, stand out in a new pop style, gypsy version. It is as if these houses only served to testify to the existence and wealth of the family, as if they were built solely to mark a passage, using codes of the permanent residents and little known to nomads.
Symbols of a dream and a never promised land, exhibited and not lived, built but not designed, for this people the palatul tiganilor have the same value as the gold that is shown on the occasion of weddings. On this day, however, it is not wealth that is exhibited, but pain.
You can find the full version of this report on:
Living the world – volume published by White Star – National Geographic
Screening – Meeting “Living the world”