Saturday, 21 January 2012

Gypsy Blood - 4oD - Channel 4

Filmed over two years by award-winning photographer Leo Maguire, Gypsy Blood examines the violent culture that some gypsy and traveller fathers hand on to their sons.

The film is an intimate portrait of two gypsy families, their fight for respect and the price they pay in cycles of revenge that can erupt into sudden and terrifying violence.

The Dohertys are Irish Traveller royalty. While Hughie Doherty, 27, becomes embroiled in a fight to defend his family's name, his seven-year-old son Francie is caught between two worlds, learning to read at primary school while learning to fight with his fists at home.

Fred Butcher is Romany but torn between the gypsy fighting tradition and his love as a father. His nine-year-old son, Freddy Cole, is terrified his father will be badly hurt in a fight. The film follows the story of how Fred nearly dies in a machete attack as a day of drinking and sparring goes terribly wrong.

Gypsy Blood is a haunting study of masculinity, violence and the uneasy relationship gypsy and traveller men have with their bare-knuckle traditions, and an insight into people living amongst a wider society but sometimes with values that are a world apart.

Gyspy Blood is part of True Stories, which commissions and showcases the best feature-length documentaries.