Trespass Against Us released this Friday, is a traveller-gangster flick starring Michael Fassbender as a happy-go-lucky Irish traveller suffering from a crisis of faith. To celebrate the film's theatrical release, we are taking a look at how the outsider traveller, Gypsy and Roma communities are represented in cinema; unsurprisingly, just as these communities are rich in cultural heritage, so are their onscreen representations.


Bizet's opera Carmen was adapted to the silver screen in 1984 and stars the famous tenor Placido Domingo but the opera is of course centred around the overtly-sexual and feminist prototype Carmen; a gypsy who refuses to be tied down by any one love affair. Played skilfully by the mezzo-soprano Julia Migenes, the gypsy Carmen lurches from lover to lover, whilst singing the most sumptuous opera classics; always narrowly avoiding cliché, which is hard to do since she is supposedly the embodiment of the free-spirited lover who cannot give up her transient ways and the call of change!


Guy Ritchie's second film is basically Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels plus Brad Pitt. Pitt plays an Irish traveller, the bare-fisted boxing champion of his traveller clan. Despite Snatch being vastly superior to Ritchie's more recent Sherlock franchise, still does not portray the traveller community in a favourable light; rather it relies on a glut of testosterone-fuelled violence and near-racist Irish stereotypes.

Drag Me To Hell

This brilliant supernatural horror, directed by Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, Spiderman, The Possession) features a star turn from actress Lorna Raver as the gypsy Ganush, who turns uber-bitch once her mortgage extension is rejected. The crux of the drama is a curse which is set to ultimately drag mild-mannered loan officer Christine Brown to hell itself! But whilst being a good old fashioned horror romp, Drag Me To Hell is thoroughly clichéd in its portrayal of the Gypsy and Roma communities; don't watch for a faithful and skilled portrayal of a gypsy suffering from a downturn in her finances, rather switch on for some Sam Raimi gore!

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Disney's animated musical interpretation of Victor Hugo's classic is something of a rom-com set amid the 15th century spires of Paris, only the leading man is a partially-disabled recluse who needs to be drawn out of his shell by the vibrant Gypsy siren Esmerelda, voiced by a husky and smouldering Demi Moore. Esmeralda is another feminist-prototype, who wasn't just beguiling but also championed the rights of the Roma community in a deeply divided and classist society.


Juliet Binoche's character, the sultry chocolatier, Vianne Rocher finds her affections in the dashing Roma Roux, played by a pre-Pirates Of The Caribbean Johnny Depp. Chocolat is a rather romantic outlook on the Roma lifestyle, perhaps trying to convince audiences that this is what women might secretly want in a man; a passionate but intermittently absent partner who feels the tug of travelling within his handsome DNA. Although Chocolat, and indeed the Roma Roux, might be far-fetched for some as a realistic romance and romantic lead, Depp fits his role that like a glove - seemingly made for life in a picturesque caravan and fingers full of chunky gypsy rings.

Which brings us to Tresspass Against Us by newbie director Adam Smith. What at first appears to be a vehicle for Fassbender to flex his acting muscles with an on-point country twang, a complex ensemble drama which explores the realities of the Traveller lifestyle. As Fassbender's character, the reflective Chad Cutler, considers leaving his life of petty crime he comes into conflict with his controlling father Colby, played by the excellent Brendan Gleeson; but instead of drifting into cliché and violence, Smith's debut film attempts to tackle intimate and personal drama that only happens to be taking place within the traveller community. Tresspass Against Us is in cinemas now.