The Deathless Woman
2019, 89’. Writer-Director: Roz Mortimer
The far right are rising again in Europe. A Roma woman buried alive in a forest in Poland during WWII returns to haunt us, uncovering a history of atrocities against the Roma in Europe. She is the Deathless Woman. Motivated by rage, she rises from her grave to draw our attention to the persecution of the Roma people from the 1940s to the neo-Nazi hate crimes of the present day.
This urgent and magical hybrid documentary fluidly interweaves fantastical re-imaginings of buried secrets with the Deathless Woman’s ghostly narration and testimony from survivors and witnesses of historic and contemporary crimes against the Roma in Poland and Hungary.
The Deathless Woman is a ghost story for the 21st Century.
At a time when xenophobia and racism are rising again across the world, and a fear of the ‘other’ has been exacerbated by the largest refugee crisis in recorded history, it feels crucial to acknowledge their undocumented realities. More than 10 million Roma live in Europe, and continue to face segregation in schools, forcible evictions and racist attacks.
During the project’s development, Roz has worked with the support of Roma and Traveller communities and groups in Poland, Hungary and the UK and is an associate member of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture.
The Deathless Woman is an emotionally charged and powerful film that adds to contemporary debate about people who are marginalised; offering a space for reflection on past histories and discussion about how we can move towards a more tolerant society.
The film ends with a roll-call of violent and racially motivated attacks against the Roma in Europe. Starting with The Deathless Woman’s murder in Bielcza in 1942 and ending in 2019 with attacks in Italy, France and Bulgaria. By the time you read this, that list will be out of date. The violence and prejudice continue.