A documentary examining the origins of the Roma by Charles Chaplin | civilization

Charles Chaplin, in Gypsy Camp “Charlotte, Bohemia (Vagabond)” (1916).

Charles Chaplin believed for many years that he was born in Greater London in 1889. Son of artists from Music hall, He never managed to find his birth certificate, which is another common thing in families traveling the show. Chaplin always knew his father was half-gypsy. But his mother, Hannah, did not reveal her origin to him until shortly before her death, in 1928, when she confessed to her son that she was 100% Roma, and that she was the sister of the Queen of Rome. Therefore, Chaplin was also a gypsy. In 2011, 34 years after the director’s death, Her daughter Victoria opened a staircase for the office in the Swiss Family Palace, which is about to become a museum. He found a letter he sent to the artist in the early 1970s of his eight years in which it was stated that Chaplin was born in Camp in Black Patch Park, At that time it was a huge settlement of gypsies near Birmingham. Of the millions of letters he has received while alive, only the artist has kept that one signed by Jack Hill.

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Today, the Chaplin family wants to confirm the origins of a twentieth century genius with the documentary Charles Chaplin, man of the world, It was directed and co-written by her granddaughter Carmen Chaplin – along with Amaia Remírez and Isaki Lacuesta – and produced by her sister Dolores from her other granddaughters. In pre-production, the film reviews her life on a trip to France, Switzerland, Serbia, the United Kingdom, Romania and Spain, and reviews her cinema and music from the point of view of her Roma origins. A small preview of the movie was given at BCN Film Fest in Barcelona, ​​and it already looks like who will be the narration engine, Michael Chaplin, son of the director and Oona O’Neill, his fourth and last wife (and mother from Eight of the director’s children are 11).

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Carmen and Dolores had planned to shoot the middle of last year, but the epidemic curtailed their plans. Both are Londoners, daughters Michael and Patricia Pettodier, daughter of the Trinidadian painter. Patrick Pettodier. While Dolores, 46, a producer and resident of Madrid, developed a career in front of the camera, her sister Carmen, who is a year old, preferred to focus on directing. Charlie [así llaman las dos a su abuelo] He told my father in his childhood the full story of the ancestors of the Gypsies, and he revealed it to him with great happiness, and he told us his turn when we were children, which doubled our desire for adventure. We were half gypsies! In the film, they say. In the film, which they do not want to tell who will participate more than two names, the filmmakers Prince Kusturica and Tony Gatliffe. To help us reinterpret Charlie’s work with this vision, the artists who have a Roman or Bohemian soul will participate. We can’t say more, because we want it to be a surprise. Michael will travel and talk to them, ”they explain. The movie, which is designed for cinemas, will be completed in the summer of 2022, with 70% Spanish production (the rest comes from several European countries) and has closed its distribution in theaters in Spain.

Chaplin, directed in the late 1920s
Chaplin, directed in the late 1920s

The two Chaplin remember their grandfather. Dolores begins “We were very young”. On Christmas we would meet as many children and grandchildren as possible in Switzerland, and Charlie, in his wheelchair, was telling stories to the children. Unfortunately, we don’t remember her, but we do remember how we pushed ourselves to be as close as possible to the chair. ”Carmen continues the memory:“ We also watched a lot of home movies. Our grandmother photographed a lot documenting her travels and moments of family happiness. ”Excerpts from this material will appear in the format of Charles Chaplin, Man of the World. “It’s funny because we never thought our grandfather was Charlotte too, they were like a different existence; we don’t feel the pressure of the title, and the older we get, the less it is imposed,” they say. Chaplin died on Christmas Day 1977. “He confirmed the legacy. Gypsy, this is our father’s feeling of statelessness, which he bears with pride, which in turn comes from Charlie, who did not understand nationalities, and who hated the concept of patriotism. He liked to emphasize, as in a letter The great dictator, That he was a citizen of the world. So when they said for years he was Jewish, Charlie never denied it. What does it matter? If it caused people a shock To know that he was a Gypsy, the better, it means that he will open some minds. “

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Carmen (left) and Dolores Chaplin, at BCN in Barcelona on Sunday.
Carmen (left) and Dolores Chaplin, at BCN in Barcelona on Sunday.Adria Salido Zarco / GTRES
Michael Chaplin.
Michael Chaplin.Roche Armando

In the documentary trailer, Michael talks about the movie The pilgrim (1923) where an American policeman drove Chaplin to Mexico. The protagonist crosses the border and faces a shootout. On the other hand, there are law enforcement agencies, so Chaplin roams the desert with one foot on each side. Michael explains from the screen: “It is a good example of what I thought, it was like the gypsies, who live in two worlds, their own and the other marked by official papers.” In person, his daughters tell another story: “One day Michael hit a boy, and as a punishment his teacher made him imitate 20 times more words. The great dictator. At home, he tells Charlie about it, and Charlie, thinking aloud, asks if the text still makes sense. Today, every day, film directors, rappers, theater writers and other musicians are demanding reproduction rights for this Parliament. It is more important than ever. “

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