Cinema: I Even Met Happy Gypsies

A man bleeds to death in a mound of white goose feathers. A truncated boy hobbles on leg stumps, begging a living from passersby. A Carmenesque singer wails her miseries in a dingy nightclub. An adolescent takes a 16-year-old wife and finds himself unable to consummate the marriage, while a crowd of townspeople gathers below the couple's window, hooting.

In all of Happy Gypsies, there is not a single happy gypsy—the title is an ironic quote from a traditional tzigane tune. The actors who play the gypsies may be elated now, however, for this...