Taglines: “When God came down to earth he could not deal with the gypsies… and he took the next flight back”
Perhan lives with his devoted grandmother Khaditza, his lame sister Danira and his dissolute uncle Merdzan. He wants to marry a girl named Azra, but her mother won’t allow it, as Perhan is the illegitimate son of a Slovenian soldier who had an affair with Perhan’s late mother. Ahmed, the “Gypsy sheik,” comes to the village with his brothers. Merdzan loses his clothes playing cards with Ahmed’s brothers, and comes home desperate for money so that he can repay.
It is raining and not finding any money, he accuses the grandmother of hiding the money from him and lifts the frame of the house up (using a rope and a truck), so that it is suspended in mid-air as the rain comes down on Perhan, his grandmother and Danira. Very soon after, Khaditza is summoned to use her powers to save Ahmed’s sick son, Roberto, which Khaditza does. For repayment, she proposes a deal with Ahmed – to pay for Danira’s leg to be healed at a hospital in Ljubljana. Perhan goes with Danira, promising his grandmother not to leave her, but Ahmed asks where will he stay and convinces him to go to Milan. At first Perhan wants to make money honestly, but after being dragged through the mud, Perhan begins stealing and squirreling money away in a shack.
After being double-crossed by his brother Sadam, Ahmed appoints Perhan boss of the operation. Now relatively rich, Perhan goes home, where he is enraged to find Azra is pregnant. Perhan refuses to believe that the baby is his. They marry with the condition that she sell the baby. Perhan is also disappointed to find that the house Ahmed promised to build him is not being built at all, and that Danira was not operated on, but forced to be a beggar as part of Ahmed’s money operation.
On their wedding night, Azra tells him the child is theirs, and was conceived when they made love on the Feast of St George. Still wearing her wedding dress, Azra dies after giving birth to a boy while levitating mid-air. Because Ahmed leaves with the baby, which we discover later is also named Perhan, he is raised by Ahmed’s crew.
Time of the Gypsies (Serbian: Дом за вешање, Dom za vešanje, literally “Home for Hanging”) is a 1988 Yugoslav film by Serbian director Emir Kusturica. Filmed in Romani and Serbo-Croatian, Time of the Gypsies tells the story of a young Romani man with magical powers who is tricked into engaging in petty crime. It is widely considered to be one of Kusturica’s best films. The film was recorded in Sarajevo and Milan, by the Forum Sarajevo. The film was selected as the Yugoslav entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 62nd Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.
The film revolves around Perhan, a romani teenager with telekinetic powers and his passage from boy to man that starts in a little village in Yugoslavia and that ends in the criminal underworld of Milan. The film deals with magic-realism. The film’s soundtrack was composed by Goran Bregović.
Time of the Gypsies (1988)
Directed by: Emir Kusturica
Starring: Davor Dujmovic, Bora Todorovic, Ljubica Adzovic, Husnija Hasimovic, Sinolicka Trpkova, Zabit Memedov, Elvira Sali, Suada Karisik, Predrag Lakovic
Screenplay by: Emir Kusturica, Gordan Mihic
Production Design by: Miljen Kreka Kljakovic
Cinematography by: Vilko Filac
Film Editing by: Andrija Zafranovic
Costume Design by: Mirjana Ostojic
Music by: Goran Bregovic
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: December 21, 1988