With a title like Transylvania and the presence of dark princess Asia Argento, you could have expected gothic vampires and a lot of blood getting sucked, but Gypsy Director Tony Gatlif prefers to take us on a harsh road trip.
Music, as a symbol of life, is the real theme of Transylvania, which follows Zingana (Asia Argento), a disturbed and pregnant girl who travels to Transylvania to find the father of her child, a musician, and whom, after being abandoned, wanders like a homeless until she meets another lost soul who takes her under his protection
Asia Argento (Scarlet Diva, Marie-Antoinette, XXX) is incandescent here, as she often is, and she carries this film on her shoulders, exhibiting madness, strength and fragility at the same time. There isn't much happening, the filmmaker mostly focusing on the emotional journey of his characters. While the setting is pretty basic, the film is however pretty intense, taking your guts with its roughness.
Music is omnipresent, officiating as a thread that leads the characters to their destiny. The folkloric songs symbolize hope and happiness and should only been used as positive energy, a stated by a group of musicians toward the end. Obviously the association of music and gypsies isn't far from the universe of Emir Kusturia (Life is a Miracle), and one can regret that the film, which is also in the continuity of Gatlif's Exiles, lacks originality. But if you're into these kinds of tough emotional and psychological foreign fares, Transylvania is certainly for you, and it was one of my favorite films at AFI Festival where I saw it.