Anyone who ever wanted to be a gypsy should appreciate "Gadjo Dilo."

This rich, warm, human and musical drama is the third part of writer/director Tony Gatlif's Gypsy trilogy — all drama films that examine this normally misunderstood culture.

(In case you're wondering, the other films are 1982's "The Princes" and 1993's "Latcho Drom." Gatlif's most recent feature, "Mondo," was an unofficial fourth part of the trilogy).

Admittedly, some of the material gets a little too "earthy" (such as the inclusion of sexually explicit material), which may turn off audiences. But for the most part, "Gadjo Dilo" is more full of life than any 10 Hollywood blockbusters . . . or any five Hollywood character dramas.

The story follows Stephane (Romain Duris), a Frenchman who is wandering the Romanian countryside in search of a Gypsy singer, Nora Luca. Having lost his way, he is in danger of freezing to death when he runs into Izidor (Isidor Serban), a musician who gives him shelter.

Izidor also tells Stephane he knows the woman and promises to help him find her. But it's clear that he sees the younger man as a surrogate son (his real sons are either imprisoned or suffering from beatings administered by soldiers). So instead of aiding his search, Izidor actually throws up roadblocks to keep him in the village longer.

That's not to say that Stephane's extended stay is completely unpleasant. The old man ends up teaching the "gadjo dilo" (crazy outsider) some of the native language, as well as some valuable lessons about the Gypsies' peculiar lifestyle.

Eventually, Stephane grows to appreciate their way of life, even as he is accepted by the other villagers, especially Sabina (Rona Hartner), a beautiful belly dancer who is also the village outcast.

Some scenes in the film are unscripted, and therefore have a tendency to ramble on a bit (Gatlif wanted to preserve the spontaneity of the story). And with the exceptions of Duris, Hartner and a couple of others, the cast is composed of "authentic" Gypsies.

By and large, the experiment seems to have succeeded. Serban is quite believable, and many scenes have a vibrancy that might not have been possible in a more deliberately planned movie.

As far as the "professional" performers are concerned, Duris (who bears a remarkable resemblance to Daniel Day-Lewis) is very good, and the charismatic Hartner is more than a match for him.

"Gadjo Dilo" is not rated but would receive at least an R for profanity, full male and female nudity, vulgar sexual talk and use of slang terms, simulated sex and violence (bottle throwing).