'Geronimo': Love in a Desperate Defiance of Tradition

EYES IN™ Magazine Editor-in-Chief Vivian Van Dijk is LIVE at 2014 Cannes Film Festival and screened the film 'Geronimo.' Vivian says, "Geronimo is one of the strongest films I have seen so far during the Cannes Film Festival. The film brings the subject of honor killings to life in such a very emotional way. It is an example of a feature film that documents and wakes you up from complacence regarding a disrupted part of a culture where women's rights are totally denied.

"Film director Tony Gatlif has managed to create a real masterpiece and hopefully this film will bring an end to a cultural belief that does not belong to the 21st century. The roughness of the film is at the same time its strongest elegance and refinement, and that roughness contradicts how civilization should be and shows which part of civilization we should get rid of in order to survive as real humans with a warm heart."

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Geronimo Synopsis

South of France. In the sultry August heat, Geronimo, a young social educator, tries to ease tensions between the youngsters of the St. Pierre neighborhood. The mood changes when Nil Terzi, a teenage girl of Turkish origin, flees an arranged marriage, running into the arms of her gypsy lover, Lucky Molina. Their escape sparks hostilities between the two clans. When the jousting and the musical battles begin, Geronimo struggles to quell the ensuing unrest around her.

Geronimo headlines up-and-coming French star Céline Sallette as a young educator raised by Gypsies who works in the South of France and battles to diffuse escalating tensions between the Gypsy and Turkish communities. Tony Gatlif previously won Cannes Film Festival’s best director for 'Exils' and Un Certain Regard prize for 'Latcho Drom.'

An Excerpt From the Interview With Director Tony Gatlif by Melissa Bounoua

MB: How did you translate those stories [of your past] into pictures?

TG: I called my [friend the street] educator and got him to tell me another story I had in mind. 'You remember that girl you once saved?' She had just been dumped, she was really down, and he was taking her to the seaside....As they were driving to Deauville along the freeway at 60-odd mph, she flung the door open. He grabbed her without letting go of the wheel, and managed to hold her back.

This story made an impression on me. It had to be in the film. When the bride, a girl from a Turkish family who flees an arranged marriage, jumps out of the car driven by the educator, played by Céline Sallette, here's how I presented things to Nailia Harzoune, who plays Nil: 'The educator is taking you someplace to protect you, but you are really afraid that your brothers will take revenge and hurt you. You panic, you don't trust anyone, you instinctively want to run away.' The action was superb and very real because when we shot the scene, Nailia actually jumped out before the car had stopped! During editing, when I saw what we had, I was stunned. It sent a chill down my back.

MB: Geronimo is a man's name. Why was he given the face of a woman (Céline Sallette)?

TG: I realised that for it to be a modern film, it had to be a female educator. The story centers on two free-spirited, liberated, strong women - one who spurns tradition, aware of the risks she's taking, and the educator, who helps her out to make sure she prevails, make sure she isn't slaughtered. This educator is a sweet soul but not a charitable one. Her life is devoted to others. She has no personal life, she's like a run-down house. If you stuck a guy in the middle of these kids, he couldn't win because he'd figure, a father....Women are stronger, fairer, and not so common....

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Source: Vivian Van Dijk and Cannes Film Festival

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