Best Actress Award at Locarno for the film Gadjo Dilo, a popular singer on the electro-Balkan scene, Franco-Romanian Rona Hartner, 50, died Thursday, November 23 in Toulon (south of France), the diocese announced and one of his friends.

“With great sadness, we learn that Rona Hartner, actress, singer, producer, very involved in the Toulon Christian artistic community, has left us,” wrote the diocese of Fréjus-Toulon on its Instagram page. “She died this Thursday from cancer, she had lived in Toulon for around ten years. He was a very happy person,” said Alain Vignal, history professor, who was one of his friends.

“Someone of great generosity”

Born March 9, 1973 in Bucharest, Rona Hartner notably played alongside French actor Romain Duris in the film Gadjo Dilo, by Tony Gatlif, in 1997, the story of a Frenchman going to Romania in search of a singer rom. For this role, she won the acting prize at the Locarno International Film Festival (Switzerland).

“It’s heartbreaking for me, he was a wonderful person, very generous, in the game as in life. When she won a prize in Locarno, she took everything there was to eat and put it in a bag. The people of Locarno were offended but when she left, she gave everything to the poor. She was very generous, said Tony Gatlif. For Gadjo Dilo, I really looked everywhere for an actress. I wanted someone like her. I’ve never seen actresses like that, someone who could dare to act like that, but she wasn’t vulgar. She gave. »

Rona Hartner had just filmed in Alexandre Arcady’s film, Le Petit Blond de la Casbah, released in theaters on November 15. “She was a beautiful and sweet person, joy and good humor on edge,” said Alexandre Arcady, specifying that she would be buried in Romania. “She will remain in our hearts. »

“I think she loved Romania a lot, but Romania loved her less,” laments film critic Irina Margareta Nistor. Despite her notoriety in France, “she did not obtain roles in Romania”.

Musician and singer, Rona Hartner had also collaborated with DJ stars of electro-Balkan music, such as the German Shantel or DJ Tagada (“Gypsy Therapy”), as well as with the filmmaker David Lynch for a series of pieces (“ You’re More than That”). In 2015, she released the album The Balkanic Gospel, mixing Roma music, gospel and jazz.