Cobra Gypsies

Cobra Gypsies

2015, Society  -   46 Comments
8.56
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Ratings: 8.56/10 from 303 users.

Filmmaker Raphael Treza traveled to northern India and lived among an ancient tribe known as the Kalbeliya for three months. Cobra Gypsies is the vibrant and enlightening document of that journey. The Kalbeliyas are a highly spirited people; ebullient in their celebration of life and colorful custom. Although many of them have never before met a foreigner prior to Treza's arrival at their camps, the tribes-people seem unguarded in their enthusiasms to share their culture.

The tribe is shown in comfort with the oftentimes inhospitable environment which surrounds them. In the midst of bee swarms and venomous lizards, they search for one of the most dominant symbols of their tribe - the cobra. In one particularly illuminating segment of the film, Treza is taken on an excursion to hunt the cobras, which are widespread inhabitants of the region. Once the cobras are caught, they are largely depleted of their deadly venom. Sometimes they are placed on public display for money. Gypsies also learn to handle the reptiles from an early age, and incorporate them into their ceremonial dances.

Music plays an integral role in defining the culture of the Kalbeliyas as well. Treza's camera captures the festivities at an annual two-day music festival, during which hundreds of families celebrate the name of Krishna through uninhibited dance from nightfall to sunrise. Vivid and pulsating beats permeate the entirety of the film, and help to characterize the thriving spirit of the community it documents. The camps are scored by the buoyant sounds of perpetual song.

Marriages are arranged from an early age, and the couple remains bonded until death. We observe the ritualistic beauty of a Kalbeliyas wedding, where the groom is covered in the eye-popping primary colors of plants and spices, guests descend upon the bride's house led by a mobile disc jockey, and dancing proceeds well into the night.

Cobra Gypsies allows viewers an opportunity to witness behaviors and customs that have never before been captured on camera. The filmmaker's point of view is unobtrusive, and we benefit from the sense of having lived in the presence of the Kalbeliyas for a brief, but glorious period of time.

Directed by: Raphael Treza

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Mike Angelov
Mike Angelov
2 months ago

Very interesting environment and people. And a very wasted documentary opportunity. It is actually a travel/vlogging video of a person who has no idea of how to make documentaries or films for that matter. The music, the narration, the editing, the audio... everything is terrible. He literally wasted 3 months. Shame.

Lisa Parker
Lisa Parker
3 years ago

Absolutely fascinating! Thank you!

ness campagnaro
ness campagnaro
3 years ago

Thank you for making this. It is a beautiful feeling I have walked away with watching it and it has inspired me in my jewellery designing.

Carolyn Kennard
Carolyn Kennard
4 years ago

Beautiful photography, but very shallow and boring commentary. The film maker does not seem to know much about the culture, it's history. Using the splendor of the colours and scenery and music that all belongs to the
"gypsies" not to the film maker. to get across the line..... what a wasted opportunity. No gypsy perspective was asked or given. Very indulgent and ego driven.

Cathy
Cathy
4 years ago

Very interesting!!!! More please!!!!

nelson adrian
nelson adrian
4 years ago

reveals so much that one wishes to know more

Mike
Mike
5 years ago

Beautiful.

Don
Don
5 years ago

Shame everybody in the comments missed the "info bomb" about the ancient civilisation migrations, rather important one at that

T
T
5 years ago

Very entertaining and touching <3 thank you for introducing me to the vibrant world of the kalbeliyas . love how they embrace music and art , love their simple yet joyful lifestyle, thank you <3 love from Hong Kong

sheena
sheena
6 years ago

lovely film, what beautiful happy people

rushabh
rushabh
6 years ago

Raphael great work, I liked it

Becky
Becky
6 years ago

Video no longer available :'(

John
John
6 years ago

and then we have islam...

John Cameron
John Cameron
6 years ago

Absolutely amazing... Just everything about it is capturing

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
6 years ago

Very slow and only mildly entertaining.. definitely up voted by his friends and family.. not worth a 8.8 vote... more like a 3.5 star. Most tourist travel to Rajastan on a sleeper class train and encounter gypise and snake charmers, nothing new and a one sided tale from another ignorant cash-cow in India.

AAAAAAAAAAAlam
AAAAAAAAAAAlam
7 years ago

Sweetly done!!!

Gachi
Gachi
7 years ago

I will have to watch this many times. I greatly admire the free spirited way that Treza chose to photograph and produce the film. Although you might think that no one could miss the mark with such a great subject, many people would. This could have been a cold semi boring National Geographic style kind of thing about some weird people in India. Treza had a better idea. His style is outdone by the people he filmed, but I wonder if he would have ever wanted it any other way.

Nikki Rae
Nikki Rae
7 years ago

" A turtle".... Lol

Best documentary ever!

Rangarajan
Rangarajan
7 years ago

Mr. Raphael needs to be applauded for the effort he had taken to document the Cobra gypsies. In the searing heat of Rajasthan, with little or no cover from the hot sun, it is a very demanding exercise. It would have been complete, if the daily life and its rigor of a gypsy family was fully caught on the screen. Their metamorphic carefree life, punctuated by the music for every occasion will give an insight the hardships they face, only to be resolved by community approach, with an elder to give away the opinions and decisions, which normally bind everyone. The Irula tribes in Tamilnadu , south of India, an another Cobra catching tribe, have improved economically by forming cooperatives for the extraction and sale of snake venom, which is one of the most expensive product of nature.

Robert
Robert
7 years ago

brilliant, beautiful - the film, the music and the people

Barry
Barry
7 years ago

Fantastic, mesmerizing and beautiful.

Vicky
Vicky
7 years ago

Why is this video no longer available?

Mike
Mike
7 years ago

Life is Magic.

Jasna
Jasna
7 years ago

It is so good to see and to show us GOOD things and places and people and ways of life!!
Biodiversity of flora-fauna&humans - this is the real riches of our planet. Mister Reza and his companions are brave and positive thinkers! Of course we all know that mother Earth is not black-white stuff!!! But the bright side has more Spirit! Thanks from Slovenija.

Vikram
Vikram
8 years ago

This documemtry is superb.. cameraman did wonderful photography. It shows beautiful aspacts of these gypsies life.
Full on entertainment..!

Karen
Karen
8 years ago

This documentary was the most beautiful and amazing thing I've seen in a long time. I want to watch it again and again. I've always felt an affinity for India (maybe a past life?), and I may have some Gypsy blood. Stunning and amazing.

Rick
Rick
8 years ago

This is a very special documentary. A true culture. Wish it were longer and in great depth but maybe Raphael will make another. Bravo Raphael, enjoyed every minute of it.

Jen
Jen
8 years ago

It was alright. But I'm concerned that it was overly romanticized. I would have been very interested to have had subtitles for all of the day-to-day conversation that you hear throughout the documentary. Like when the ladies are in tents all singing? I'd like to hear what the songs mean. When they catch the cobra in the village and all sorts of people are talking? I would like to hear what sort of things are being said. I feel like just having the narrator tell us about what's happening does not give a proper grasp of what these people's lives are like. Without such a simple thing as hiring a translater and making subtitles of the dialogue, this "glimpse" into the Cobra Gypsy life doesn't feel genuine.

Mike
Mike
8 years ago

Beautiful people. Beautiful music. Beautiful movie. Beautiful.

Jenifer
Jenifer
8 years ago

Love the music and the film is awesome. I have watched this documentary many times. Wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything.

RK
RK
8 years ago

This is awesome. Very tastefully done.

matt
matt
8 years ago

Amazing wow....this should win an award.

Dodie
Dodie
8 years ago

This is a great documentary....These are a beautiful people..I recommend this video highly...

leons
leons
8 years ago

wonderfully Did.........

artslab
artslab
8 years ago

Excellent documentary. Perfectly edited, really interesting to watch. Very recommended.

Nagini
Nagini
8 years ago

As a photographer... dance lover, horse trainer and snake lover... and lover of India... this is absolutely fabulous. So incredibly beautiful and vibrant... love your style and awesome cinematography. Fantastic from beginning to end. Namaste.

Maryam Hashemi
Maryam Hashemi
8 years ago

So beautiful, we have been watching this documentary over and over again sharing it with friends and going over thd favourite moments. What a great job.

Cory Dantos
Cory Dantos
8 years ago

I was basically grinning the whole way watching it. Its such a cool documentary. I don t know why I still cant stop smiling lol.

heybill
heybill
8 years ago

very informative

Bulletking
Bulletking
8 years ago

What a brilliant documentary. One of the best I've seen. Exceptional brilliant photography & ?. Thank you for ur painstaking efforts n direction in bringing out this documentary

Mark Trotier
Mark Trotier
8 years ago

This for me is among the best documentaries of this type I have seen. It was moving and informative. Brilliant!

hakan kaplan
hakan kaplan
8 years ago

awesome ....

sathish kumar
sathish kumar
8 years ago

i like this documentary very much,

Jenika
Jenika
8 years ago

I have always felt an affinity with the Gypsies and was sad that they were not remembered when Hitler slaughtered so many of this special traveling band/s.