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When Father Was Away on Business (1985)
"Otac na sluzbenom putu" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  11 October 1985 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 5,162 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 13 critic

Tito's break-up with Stalin in 1948 marked the beginning of not only confusing, but also very dangerous years for many hard-core Yugoslav communists. A careless remark about the newspaper ... See full summary »

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Title: When Father Was Away on Business (1985)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Moreno D'E Bartolli ...
Malik
...
Mehmed Mesa Zolj (as Miki Manojlovic)
...
Senija Sena Zolj
Mustafa Nadarevic ...
Zijah Zijo Zulfikarpasic
...
Ankica Vidmar
Predrag Lakovic ...
Kucepazitelj Franjo
Pavle Vuisic ...
Dedo Muzamer (as Pavle Vujisic)
Slobodan Aligrudic ...
Ostoja Cekic
Eva Ras ...
Ilonka Petrovic
Aco Djorcev ...
Dr. Ljahaov (as Aleksandar Dorcev)
Emir Hadzihafizbegovic ...
Mladji ujak
Zoran Radmilovic ...
Pilot
Jelena Covic ...
Natasa
Tomislav Gelic ...
Berberin Hamdo
Davor Dujmovic ...
Brat Mirza
Edit

Storyline

Tito's break-up with Stalin in 1948 marked the beginning of not only confusing, but also very dangerous years for many hard-core Yugoslav communists. A careless remark about the newspaper cartoon is enough for Mesha to join many arrested unfortunates. His family is now forced to cope with the situation and wait for his release from prison. The story is told from the perspective of Malik, his young son who believes the mother's story about father being "away on business". Written by Dragan Antulov <dragan.antulov@altbbs.fido.hr>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

11 October 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

When Father Was Away on Business  »

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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Maradona by Kusturica (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the best films ever made
16 August 2003 | by (paris, france) – See all my reviews

I simply can't believe there are so few viewer comments for this movie, that won the PALME D'OR in Cannes in 1985! By the way, it represented Yugoslavia, a country wich no longer exists...It was much of a surprise back then, as Kusturica was totally unknown, and the movie was entirely produced at home with no financial contribution from abroad. No doubt, this is in the top 3 of best Yugoslavian films, if not he best one ever.

This film is a historical, not only because it deals with a specific historical context, but most of all, because it was all done in SARAJEVO a mere six years before the outbreak of war, at a time when nobody suspected how things would eventually turn out. Note that the movie shows a place where Muslims, Christians and Jews coexist in peace, and this is quite a symbol today when you watch it knowing what came next. It is highly probable that some of the crew died during the Yugoslav conflict, which took place around that same city and cost 300,000 lives.

The lead role by little Moreno de Bartolli is certainly one of the most amazing child performances on screen ever. Otherwise, two of the actors appeared in famous films after that. Miki Manojlovic who plays the father, is a Kusturica regular, and has become famous internationally; the late Davor Dujmovic who plays the elder brother plays also the lead role as Perhan in "Time of the Gypsies". Generally speaking, all the acting here is first class.

Also, it isn't so often that the world of adults is shown through the eyes of a child, and when it's done, it is often in a twee or awkward manner. Not at all here. Besides, Kusturica's first work has a very honest and sensitive approach of themes like fatherhood, adultery and betrayal. It 's all lightyears away from the frenzy found in the artist's later work.

Warning : this movie is highly emotional. When I saw it again recently after a long time, I'm not ashamed to say I wept twice, and I'm not a single case. Yet, it is often very funny as well. Note that, unlike many European movies, it ends rather well and on a hopeful note. If you like tragi-comical movies like "the Bicycle Thief", no doubt you will love this too.

The very light sexual allusions and nudity caused an R rating in America. Quite a pity, as this work is far more decent than most releases, and would be a lot more interesting and appealing for young audiences than the idiotic stuff they are used to watch. I would even consider showing this in schools.

Definitely a 10 out of 10, as far as I'm concerned.


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