The ROMAnians are coming

The Romanians Are Coming: Sandu and his son Antonio outside their Romanian home. Photograph: Gus Palmer

The Romanians are coming, a very unbalanced documentary by Channel 4 is the latest show on British television trying to explain why Romanians are immigrating to the UK.

The documentary made by James Bluemel , who, clearly is a very keen admirer of Emir Kusturica and loves filming a dead scenery, struggled and failed to deliver an unbiased documentary.

The one thing it did managed to deliver, is a brilliant insight into the lives of the most deprived people in Romania. The gypsies.Or the Roma, their new name in a politically correct world. It would have been a boring 60 minutes x3 TV show,if it was a balanced and fair documentary.

An almost surreal documentary , it leaves you wondering what is real and what is fiction. The characters can easily be mistaken for paid actors. The script, could easily come from Hollywood. Yet, as most Romanians will recognise that, it is based on facts.

A small group of Romanians in the UK , started a protest against the Channel 4, the same TV station that produces Benefits Street and other very controversial programs. They do have a point, gypsy population in Romania represents less than 6% and the documentary concentrated on the gypsies. Yet, they are blissfully unaware that by trying to separate white Romanians from Gypsy Romanians, it will only increase the racial gap between white Romanians and others.

The white Romanian who insists to explain who the gypsies are, by pointing out the skin colour in very rude way, not on a colour chart, but on a human being ,with the same racial innocence you get from hardcore Ukip supporters, the most brilliant gypsy narrator winking at the camera because he already knows what will happen next, the look on the Asian mechanic face , unhappy with being associated with the gypsies,this makes great television.

However, if you are not very familiar with Roma and their fragile situation in Europe, it is worth remembering that Nigel Farage from UKIP started a campaign against them (using the name Romanians), France deports them and Italy segregates them from using the public transport.

You might also want to read this :

The victims of Romanian race attacks – Belfast

From an artistic and a semi-social point of view , yes, I do recommend the Show : The Romanians are coming. Love for apocalyptic imagery, playing between colour and film noir , original characters, etc – can easily make you forget that you are watching real people.

What is for sure is that you get to a point , when you have to decide if you love them or you hate them.Because I tried to make a documentary about homeless people in 2009 ,and failed – I give 8 out of 10.

I am a gypsy, my wife is a gypsy, my kid is a gypsy, even the (white) dog is a gypsy !

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