The Wife of the Gypsy Baron (2015)

Online video | 5.13 min.

Movie Info

  • Release Date: 15 Oct, 2015
  • Country Georgia
  • Author Giorgi Beridze
  • Published by Palitra TV
  • Submitting institution Palitra TV


Competition status / – participant

1,500 ethnic Gypsies reside in Georgia’s regions, though most of them live in Tbilisi. According to historic documents, the first Gypsy camps reached Georgia by the 19th century. There are eight Gypsy families living in the suburbs of Tbilisi.

The baron of the camp is Misha Yunenko, 58. His wife, Venera Martkoplishvili is an ethnic Georgian from the east of the country. Their love story started 44 years ago.

When a Gypsy camp dropped by the village of Gamarjveba (East Georgia),  14- year old Venera could not resist the charms of the blue eyed young Gypsy boy.

She followed the camp, traveling to many countries until she finally got back to Georgia. Despite living a Gypsy life, Venera Martkoplishvili still managed to get an education. She even founded a non-government organization to assist Gypsies with social integration and legal issues.

Only some 50 out of 1,500 Gypsy children living in Georgia go to school; Some of them don’t even have any identification or legal documents.

According to Gypsy tradition, only the Baron’s family has the right to cook for religious festivals and holidays. Unfortunately Georgian Gypsies have been losing their traditions. They no longer sing their romance songs or spend long nights dancing by the fire in the fields or by the rivers.  They cannot afford to buy musical instruments.

The gypsies had been living a nomadic life, but now with borders closed they cannot travel. Forests and fields have also become private and camping is forbidden there. Previously they would camp at a quiet place and spend days and nights singing and dancing by the fire; unfortunately, this tradition is almost lost now. These gypsies are no longer fortune-tellers, beggars or traders. Their lack of education and legal papers puts them in a very complicated situation.


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