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May 28, 2022



Lukáš Houdek: When Romani people don't speak "gypsy" right

Prague, 26.9.2013 22:44, (ROMEA)
According to producer Pavel Pásek, the Romani actors in the Czech film
According to producer Pavel Pásek, the Romani actors in the Czech film "Kameňák 4" weren't speaking "gypsy" correctly enough and had to be dubbed by non-Romani actors. (PHOTO: Facebook Kameňák 4)

Here it is! Romani people causing problems once more!

The creators of the Czech film series "Kameňák", which is very popular with audiences, had to contend with egregious sabotage when filming sequel number four and it ended up costing them even more money. In an interview for the daily Aha!, producer Pavel Pásek said the problem was the film's Romani actors.  

The filmmakers hired the actors to "seem Romani" (which, naturally, meant they were to behave like janitors who don't know how to speak, have ridiculous accents, and act like retarded people). Unfortunately, the actors were unable to fulfill this task, and the filmmakers found themselves at a dead end. 

Fortunately, the producers ultimately had a genius idea! They auditioned talented non-Romani dubbers who would be better able to transform the dialogue "into gypsy" (as the producer told the daily).

The filmmakers, however, did not anticipate that mobs of gifted dubbers would apply for this call to action and that it would be no easy task to choose the one most competent to conquer the Romani actors' unfulfilled task. Pásek told the daily that one of the hottest candidates eventually became Marcus Tran.

The producer went on to reveal that the dubber is of "Vietnamese origin." Tran, who will evidently dub the voice of one of the Romani women in the film, also plays a Chinese restaurant owner and wrote some of the music. 

Those you reading this paraphrase of the interview in Aha! probably cannot believe your eyes. Now what are the Roma daring to do?!

Not only are the Roma taking other people's jobs (as we can read in several online discussions), they aren't even talking like gypsies anymore! Poor director Ján Novák and his team had to spend even more money to create the Romani people that his viewers expect - and the viewer is rightly laughing.

This whole situation reminds me of the story of a friend of mine, who several years ago brought a delegation of EU suits by bus to visit an infamous settlement in eastern Slovakia. The point of the trip was to familiarize them with the life of Romani people in Slovakia.

As soon as the Romani residents spotted the incoming bus, they pulled out their washboards and ran to the nearby stream. They started rolling about in the water and occasionally brandishing their laundry in it.

Afterward, they changed into flowered skirts and began dancing. They wanted to meet their visitors' expectations, after all. 

Let's hope that in the future the Roma in the Czech Republic come to their senses and return to their typical way of speaking. After all, we need a good laugh!  

Lukáš Houdek, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Film, Předsudky, Příběhy, Slovensko, Stereotypy, Zábava, Anticiganismus, Cigáni, etnicita, menšiny, Romové, situace ve společnosti, Vietnamci, Commentary, Czech republic, Entertainment, Racism, Roma


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