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El Paso

Directed by Zdeněk Tyc

Czech Republic

Released: 2009


100 minutes

El Paso takes the viewer into a turbulent world of passion and emotion. After the success of The Brats, director Zdeněk Tyc has returned to the world of Roma that we so often regard with fear and unease even though we know nothing at all about it. El Paso is inspired by the true story of a Roma widow with nine children. In the film the Horváth family has seven children. The story begins with something unexpected - the tragic death of the father. His wife, Věra, is suddenly alone in a fight with the authorities and is determined to keep her large family together at all costs, but is hopelessly ill-prepared for the task. The welfare department files an application to take her children into care. They are evicted from their home and moved to a one-room flat on the outskirts. The case - Věra versus the city - finds its way to a young, ambitious lawyer. She doesn't know the world of Roma, nor is she particularly interested in it: initially she takes on the case as a springboard for her career. Despite her prejudices, incomprehension and sometimes Věra herself, who at first refuses to let the blonde lawyer into her world, she doesn't abandon the case. Luckily she's not the only one who sides with the family. There's the social worker, Honza Kochta, a bit impractical but all the more committed to his work for that. His attempts to help the Horváths are also motivated by his entirely private interest in the attractive lawyer.


El Paso doesn't have a happy end, but holds out the hope of one. It offers a positive example without seeing the world through rose-tinted spectacles. And also an opportunity to reflect on whether being a Rom really means being guilty.



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