‘Enlightened’: A Story Of A Rebellious Love and Tradition

What if you live practicing different traditions? Would you still be able to continue being together?

(Image: GagaOOLala)

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.

While dancing, France interrupted them and told his uncle to move away. They danced, drank, and continued vibing with her cousins and other family members until a man interrupted them and told France to stop dancing and help her sisters clean up. He told her that it was a shame that she was dancing in front of the guys. Because of that, Zoe ran away and went home. She arrived home and found her dad sleeping again on the couch while the television was on. She tried to wake him up, but he didn’t. She went outside of the house after she realized that her dad had passed away after she left him that morning. She ran to the party and told France that her father was dead. Her auntie told the guys to move faster, and they would help her get her dad.

Zoe wakes up in a car while France is driving. They arrived at some place and asked her where they were, and the latter answered that they were in survival mode and were just grabbing a few things. France went inside the house, and she waited for her in the car. After getting some things, they went again to a place where France and her cousins had stayed before. Zoe saw her setting up their camping van, and she told her that she spoke to the funeral services, and she didn’t have to worry because they would sort out everything, and she just had to pick the best flowers. They went back into their house, and she put the flowers on top of her father. She cried as she sat beside him, looking at their pictures.

She talks to him and says she’s sorry that she’s not there for him when he needs him the most. She says that he always lets her be free. He lets her be with them without any questions. And now she knows that birds come back home eventually. She went outside the room after saying all that to her father. She asked France if she ever lost someone, and before answering her, she showed her her tattoo and told her it was her sister, who died when she was a baby. They continued their conversation while drinking. France told her that she didn’t want to have a baby because the world is tough and it just consumes you. She doesn’t want a husband either. They went inside their van, and France showed her some of her baby photos and told her that was the first time they met. She told her that that’s when they wanted to be friends with her because she was the first Gadji who lent them anything.

The next day, they went out, and France taught her how to use a rifle. They enjoyed the rest of the day hanging out at the farm. That night, France told her that they should burn the things that belonged to the dead so they could rest in peace. Zoe told her that after the wake, they would not talk about him again. Before dawn, Zoe was shocked when she saw France putting gasoline on their camp van. She told her that they should burn everything, and she let her start the fire. The film ends as the two share a passionate kiss while watching their camping van burn down. And Zoe finally releases her sadness at her father’s death.

‘Enlightened’ shows us that having different traditions shouldn’t be a reason not to love someone. And loving a parent should be shown every time so that we will not regret it one day. And even though they are gone, their memory will stay with us forever.

 

Watch ‘Enlightened’ in GagaOOlala, now available to watch on bigger screens! Just download the GagaOOLala app on the Amazon App Store, Google Play, and Roku.

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