What if you live practicing different traditions? Would you still be able to continue being together?
‘Enlightened‘ is an award-winning French short film starring Zoé Adjani and Clémence Boisnard and directed by Nina Bouchoud Cheval. The story depicts Zoe, a lonely teenager, who escapes a painful family life by spending time with a community of travelers. When her father suddenly dies, France, a rebellious young Romani, takes her on the road to organize a traditional Romani wake.
WARNING: Spoiler alert! Read at your own risk.
The film opens with Zoe waking up beside France inside their camp house. She tells her to go back to sleep because it’s too early to wake up, but the latter says she’s going to see her dad and help her aunt at the fair. Zoe bid her goodbyes and went out to talk to their uncle, who was fixing his motorcycle. He saw Zoe in front of the door, and he told her she looked so creepy. The latter says that he’s driving her nuts because he’s acting like he’s the family man. Zoe rode his bike and went away without saying goodbye. She arrived at her house, where her dad lives. She found her sick father lying down on the sofa, sleeping, while the TV was on. Her father was glad to see her and helped her get up so that he could eat his breakfast. He asked her about school, and she told him that they were studying birds. She asked him if he knew how to train a bird to come back to you at the end of the day. And before he answers, he coughs so hard that it makes Zoe panic.
Zoe told his father that she had a class that morning, so she had to go. But she didn’t go to class. Instead, she went to the fair, where France and her aunt sold some sweets. She played some games until she asked her if it was time for her to take a break. France thought she would wait for her until she was done, but it seemed Zoe got bored. They smoked in one corner and had a mini-argument. France tells her that she doesn’t want to cause any trouble, and she can’t come up to her without saying hello to her aunt, and she doesn’t want them to think badly of her for hanging out with a rude Gadji like her. Their argument continues, and the latter tells her that she saw her with a guy earlier and asks her if she likes him. She denies her accusations and tells her that her father is so sick and she won’t cope if anything happens to him.
France told her to rest so she could calm down for a while. She also explained to her that Romani like them don’t speak from the heart but express their love at the wakes, and she assured her that she would tell him everything soon. Zoe gets angry and tells her that she is not like them. That she will be alone if he dies, then she walks away without saying goodbye. While walking home, she bumped into France’s uncle, and he asked her if she was coming with them as they were off to shoot some rabbits for the party. She refuses at first, but the latter persuades her and says that his cousins want to know who the Gadji of the family is. After hearing that, she finally agreed on the condition that he would drop her home at night. They arrived at the party, and Zoe was there. He introduced her to their family members, and it made Zoe mad seeing that the two were so close.