Cobra Gypsies is an extraordinary documentary that takes viewers on a journey to the Kalbeliya people in Northern India. Filmmaker Raphael Treza, who spent three months amongst this ancient tribe, captures their vibrant spirit and enlightening customs through his lens.
The Kalbeliyas are a highly spirited people who celebrate life through their brightly colored custom and culture. While many of them never met a foreigner prior to Treza’s arrival, they openly shared their traditions with him. Throughout the film, viewers observe how comfortable they are in the often-hostile environment surrounding them – searching for cobras and participating in annual music festivals dedicated to Krishna.
The cobras that inhabit this region have become one of the most dominant symbols for the tribe, as they skillfully extract venom from the reptiles and use them as part of their ceremonial dances. At festivals, hundreds of families join together to honor Krishna with joyful music and dancing from nightfall till sunrise. Meanwhile, marriages are arranged from an early age and remain bonded until death – illustrated by scenes from a traditional wedding where guests arrive to colorful decor and lively songs.
Cobra Gypsies offers viewers an unprecedented glimpse into behaviors and customs that were never before captured on film. Treza’s unobtrusive point of view allows us to be immersed in the beauty of the Kalbeliya culture for a brief but meaningful period of time. If you’re looking for an eye-opening insight into another world that’s rich with color, music and celebration then Cobra Gypsies is sure to be your perfect fix!