Polígono sur

Seville, south side
Dominique Abel
Spain, France
Dominique Abel / Juan José Ibáñez
Maestranza Films


This film is about Gitanos – Spanish gypsies. Theirs is the story of a continuous exile which has lasted centuries.Again and again, no matter where they went, they were driven out of places they believed they could at last call their own. Made in the style of a fictional documentary, this film reconstructs events which took place around thirty years ago in Seville. In the late1960s, several thousand resident Gitanos were ordered to vacate their home at Triana, where their ancestors first settled some 500 years ago. In place of their home, they were offered new apartments in the vicinity. Andalusia has always been something of a cultural melting pot, on which gypsies have left a lasting impression. Gypsies have, for example, made a decisive contribution to flamenco. In the sixteenth century, the word “flamenco” meant “foreigner”. The Gitanos portrayed in this film feel like strangers, too – strangers in their own country, their own city, and even in their own apartments. They, too, are affected by all the negative aspects of modern life. Flamenco at least provides them with an – albeit brief – form of consolation. At moments like these, they strike up the old tunes and sing about the time they were travellers, the pleasures of family life and nature. In a sense, their serenading now takes place “behind bars”, in public housing which is a far cry from the star-studded skies immortalised in their songs.

Festivals & Academy awards and others

Berlin International Film Festival 2003
C.I.C.A.E. Special Mention