International Competition

IAG BARI—Brass on Fire

- GERMANY / 2002 / German, Romanian / Color / 35mm (1:1.66) / 98 min

Director, Script, Producer: Ralf Marschalleck
Photography: Lars Barthel, Mario Köhler
Editing: Ralf Marschalleck, Angela Wendt, Joachim Tschirner
Sound: Marc von Stürler, Marc ElsnerMusic: Fanfare Ciocarlia
Production Company: Um Welt Film Production
World Sales: HS Media Consult
Wasenstrasse 29, Dettenhausen 72135 GERMANY
Phone / Fax: 49-7157-620008 E-mail: heide.schramm@freenet.de

The story begins with a scene of a young boy pulling a horn from a lake. Coming from a tiny village in Romania, the gypsy brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia has taken the world by storm and gained an international following. A musical documentary rich in poetic imagery that depicts the travels of a group said to be the world’s fastest-playing gypsy brass band. Featuring delightful footage of their performance in Tokyo.

[Director’s Statement] At seventeen I had a crucial experience with gypsy culture. After watching the Russian movie The Gypsy Camp Vanishes into the Blue—an amazing melodramatic love story full of passion, wildness and rousing music—my heart was deeply touched by that special feeling of life rooted in the gypsy mentality. Afterwards I started to collect all of the gypsy music records I could get, read all of the books about gypsies I could find, and celebrate gypsy cultural events with close friends. In short, I simply had fallen in love with the culture.

I confess I was a pretty romantic teenager!

That feeling didn’t go away. I knew one day I would meet real gypsies. But I didn’t know how.

Thirty years later, long after becoming a filmmaker, friends of mine came up with the idea of roaming Romania in search of original gypsy music from the countryside, beyond the typical clichs offered in kitschy town restaurants. I immediately felt my true love returning, from the bottom of my heart. I decided to join the trip with these freaks, taking my little video camera, and it didn’t take us long to discover the living gypsy culture in the villages of Moldova, the eastern province of Romania. At that point the story which the film deals with began. We didn’t know how to successfully approach it, and we couldn’t know that people around the world would be eager for this gypsy brass music, making them dance and putting them in high spirits. We knew our dream was coming true and that this encounter would perhaps change our lives.

The film therefore tells a love story with triple meaning: dedication for a passion, the love between German guys and gypsy girls, and the enthusiasm of people all over the world for breath-taking music.

That’s what I would call a fundamental intercultural crossover. And that’s what our world needs.

- Ralf Marschalleck

Born in 1953 in Weimar, Germany. Received a masters in psychology from the University of Jena in 1980 and made experimental, documentary and short films while in the amateur film club. Assistant director from 1981 to 1987 and film director since 1987. Co-founded the independent production company Um Welt Film in 1991. Co-founder and chairman of the Thuringian Film Foundation in 1992. Works include Released (1989-93), Broken German (1991), Dealing with Strangers (1992), Daniel and the Spirits of the Makah (1994), Cola and Canoes—Indians at Cape Flattery (1995), A Cinema Dream (1995), Two Girls from Walachia (1997), and Makah—The Whale Harvesters (1998-99).

• International Competition | Basal Banar—Sacred Ritual of Truth | Flashback | Fuente Álamo—The Caress of Time | Gift of Life | Hunting Down an Angel or Four Passions of the Soothsayer Poet | IAG BARI—Brass on Fire | On Hitler’s Highway | Oui Non | Purity | Raymundo | S21, the Khmer Rouge Killing Machine | Shepherds’ Journey into the Third Millennium | Stevie | Tie Xi Qu: West of Tracks | The Way to the West • Jurors | Alain Bergala | Christine Choy | Amir Naderi | Anand Patwardhan | Takamine Go