Muzafer Bislim comes up with some of his most insightful songs while sitting on the floor, recording lyrics into a cassette recorder bought at a flea market in his hometown of Shutka, Macedonia. As a songwriter and poet, Bislim collaborates with the biggest names in Romani pop music and is gaining renown with an invitation to the International Biennial of Poets in Paris. But his masterpiece, a handwritten, 25,000 word, multi-dialect dictionary containing the oldest and most obscure words in the Romani language remains relatively unknown. Seeing the trip to Paris as an opportunity to have the dictionary published, he gathers up the amassed pages of his life’s work and heads to France to save the legacy of the dying Romani language.
A testament to the endurance of a people who are scattered across Europe, the dictionary is not only a work of art but also a rare link to a divided past. Punctuated by Bislim’s poetry and original songs, some of which we hear at the moment of their creation, Flames of God immerses the viewer in the literary and musical traditions that this extraordinary artist is committed to preserving.
Directed by Meshakai Wolf, 2011, 62 mins., Super 16mm