(TORONTO, ON) – In Geronimo, love is a nasty dirty thing. This is no sappy portrayal of love, but neither is it a romantic tragedy. It’s a modern ethnic battle full of music, dance, colour, and motion.
Geronimo is quite like no other movie I have ever seen and it has a killer soundtrack of Roma- and Turkish-influenced music. This film is on the outer edges of French cinema. Make no mistake, it’s riveting.
This is a highly visual and sensual film where the plot can be left behind and the commotion, colour, and visuals can readily take over, making the storyline somewhat unimportant. But, to give you a bit of context, Nil is a women of Turkish descent who takes off from the altar to be with Lucky, her Gypsy lover.
Needless to say, this may be modern France, but Gypsies and Turks alike are riled by flames of family honour.
Quite frankly, the Gypsies and Turks are on the verge of an all out war while social worker Geronimo, doggedly portrayed by Christine Sallette, tries to calm the situation down. Geronimo knows all the players in this depressed community and has earned deep respect.
This is a film where violence reigns, but is accompanied by astounding hip hop and flamenco dancing. There’s often music in lieu of bloody confrontation. Dramatic settings of abandoned industrial buildings adorned with graffiti.
Fazil, Nil’s brother, wants to kill her to protect the family’s honour but, crazed as he is, he shoots Geronimo, although she ultimately survives. In fact, if I am not mistaken, no one dies in the knife and gun battles. It’s all somewhat irrelevant as we are overtaken by music and visuals.
Lucky and Nil survive as well.
The plot is interesting here, but this is a movie overtaken by music, dance, and cinematography. There is no harm getting lost in the middle of everything. Enjoy.
(Geronimo, France, Director Tony Gatlif, 104 minutes, French with English subtitles, part of Toronto Cinefranco 2015 Festival, English Canada Premiere. 19 April 2015, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 3:30 pm)