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Mondo
Genre:Art/Foreign
Year:1997
Rating:NR
Cast:Schahla Aalam, Ovidiu Balan, Pierrette Fesch, Phillippe Petit, & Jerry Smith.
Credits:Directed by Tony Gatlif. Written by Jean-Marie G. Le Clezio. Produced by Michele Ray-Gavras. Released by Shadow.

Synopsis
At this particular moment in the movie cosmos, there is a small new release called Mondo at precisely the opposite pole from The Lost World. It is as simple and uncluttered as The Lost World is junked-up; it as as lucid as The Lost World is illogical; it is magical as The Lost World is mechanical. It succeeds in the Spielbergian mission of celebrating childhood wide-eyed awe by depending solely on ordinary moments and carefully composed images, and by avoiding bombast at all cost. Fablelike and mythic, it is a balm on the viewer's mind after the rush of Spileberg's ooohing and ahhhing and running and screaming.

The title character of Mondo is a 10-year-old homeless boy who wanders the streets of Nice, slipping away from the authorities and making little discoveries - a host of oranges washed ashore from Algeria with inscriptions on them, for instance, or a secret garden with satues of Balzac, Dickens, and Flaubert. Mondo's sudden appearance in Nice is never explained in the movie; he is a Gypsy, a universal child, the wanderer in us all. Gradually, he creates a temporary extended family around him, including a mailman, a street magician, a baker, a lonely Vietnamese woman, and a beggar who carries two white doves in his suitcase. While the movie is French, it contains remarkably little dialogue and relies mostly on the tacti communications between the characters and the lovely natural set pieces.

With its Chaplinesque, silent-picture veneer, Mondo represents what movies had to offer before the onslaught of computer-generated images and other special effects. It represents a lost world of movie simplicity whose tools are the language of eye contact and poignant gusts of soulfulness.

Mondo was adapted froma short story by French novelist J.M.G. Le Clezio by director Tony Gatlif, a Gypsy whose last film as Lacho Drom.

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