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Time of the Gypsies is magic realism at its best. The mystic, surreal
moments in this film only complement the film, rather than take away
from its emotion and sincerity(where many other directors fail). The
acting is very impressive especially because, from my understanding,
they are all amateurs and real gypsies. Kusturica's brilliant use of
symbols is one thing that makes his directing style so unique.
This "coming of age" film is about a young gypsy, Perhan, who tries to get his family out of poverty by becoming gypsy hustler, Ahmed's, partner in business. The constant tug of war between family and economic prosperity is a major theme in this film. Another important theme is the contrast between the simplicities of the traditional gypsy world and the complexities of modern Europe. Although this film has an overall earnest vibe, there are many comedic moments which make this film easy to watch and not too depressing overall.
I highly recommend this film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
From a whimsical beginning "Time of the Gypsies" descends into a bleak
look at innocence lost, corruption, and perhaps a special Gypsy
fatalism. It's a powerful film that has haunted me since I first saw
it. But what about it has haunted me? I think it's the extreme divide
portrayed in the film of the state of innocence and innocence lost. We
look back on the innocent incidents as from another shore as Perhan
becomes more and more disillusioned and worldly.
The structure of the film is artfully, subtly layered. For example, the film's original title is "A Home for Hanging," and we see many different types of hanging: a nagging gypsy woman hung up on a pole by her husband as she comically continues to nag; our protagonist Perhan trying to hang himself in a romantic suicide because he will never be allowed to marry his love Azra; the hanging of Perhan's house in midair when his uncle unbelievably hoists it up with a rope and his truck. It is unbelievable and yet one can remember such moments of a meeting this destructive force for the first time, some adult set on destruction bringing violence or anger into the safe home of childhood. The grandmother says something to the effect of his corruption breaking the home.
What is this moment in midair? We see it from its comic to its more evil range. A moment when all could change. I'm not sure yet what it means, yet I feel there's a contrast between the former examples of hanging to that of seeing Azra magically suspended in midair as she gives birth without any earthly rope or hook.
Similarly the repetition of glass might show a moment where that potential is unloosed and one state or the other is chosen: Perhan's glasses are half broken in the beginning of the film. There is a significant moment where he has the dream of his grandmother saying "come back immediately" or he'll be subject to some silver toothed woman: he then breaks the glass of the bus to escape but doesn't go back home. It seems then he has chosen the life of crime represented by Ahmed and its attendant lies, distrust and exploitation. In anger he breaks a glass with his teeth when he says he will come back with money to be able to wed Azra, and his son also (who says he was angry with Perhan on the train) breaks a window before stealing the coins off the eyes of his corpse. This breaking of the glass is a powerful visual metaphor in its physicality as well, and you have the sense of breaking through to some other plane of life within life - which I think is powerful in that it makes something invisible in life visible. The breaking glass seems to represent a swinging back and forth between innocence and corruption, love and hatred. And the film contains it all and thereby a large slice of life it seems.
One of my favorite scenes in the film in retrospect is the strangely paganistic Feast of St George held in the river, where Perhan and Azra may have conceived a son - there is something wild and yet sacred about it.
The grandmother gives the most beautifully red candied apples, placed in a tin, to Perhan for his journey -- and they poignantly fall to the floor when he breaks his word and doesn't stay with his sister, beguiled by Ahmed. There is something very painful about this image of these tenderly prepared candies never tasted. It is perhaps this feeling which this film evokes that I find so haunting.
Time of the Gypsies was a film that I very much enjoyed. After watching it for the first time it quickly became one of my favorite films. Emir Kusturica did a great job portraying the life of young Perhan. We saw the disillusion he faced as he was coming of age, the difficulties he had to overcome, and the turn of events that took place after he stopped living an honest life and started stealing for a living. By the end of the film we get a sense that history will repeat itself, with this young boy that may or may not be his son. Watching this was like watching a dream, and well dreams are part of our reality so that made the film even more authentic. Great film, Great director, Great Soundtrack, definitely a film I would recommend.
"Time of the Gypsies" I believe, is more than just another film; it's this kind of obsession that you feel must be revisited. This film captures a profound poetic statement about the essential concepts in life: family, love, guilt vs. revenge, and death. It is one of my person favorite movies thus far, and for so many reasons. We follow Perhan, (the main character of the film) and witness his journey of deception, betrayal and desperation. Throughout the story, we begin to lose ourselves in the wistful cinematography that Kusturica had created. One important detail I must mention, that truly connected with me, was the music. This film has one of the most enlivening and stimulating soundtracks that I have ever experienced. While sitting in my chair, watching the film, I felt my body tingle throughout with each scene came a greater profound connection one that I never thought id experience when first the film began .it left me completely breathless. It is most certainly an unforgettable and hypnotic experience one could ever go through.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was without a doubt one of my favorite international films that I
have viewed. Time of the Gypsies was nothing less than inspiring and
touching. As we follow Perhan, the protagonist of the film, through out
his journey to make enough money to rescue his sick sister and marry
the girl of his dreams, we witness just how lies, betrayal, and
desperation can lead one who once had a heart of gold into losing his
morals and sanity. Kusturica's use of magical realism gave this story
such a lyrical, poetic and passionate feel, that at times I felt as if
I was lost in a dream.
Perhan's story is a prime example of how easy it is for us as human beings to lose our sense of morality when exposed to an environment so full of greed and corruption, and to lose a piece of our sanity in the process. This instantly made me relate to my experience in the music industry. At first, I entered a naive, oblivious, and anxious young girl ready to explore the world of music. However, after a short time my eyes were opened to the immorality and selfishness that completely dominated the industry. In the end, I decided that if I wanted to preserve my true passion for music, I would have to remove myself from this corrupted world before I became like them. I couldn't help but think to myself while watching this film that if only Perhan could have just recognized what was happening to him in his conquest for riches, and removed himself from the situation, things could have possibly worked out for the better.
This is one of those movies about life but with a bit of surrealism
added to it, to help and make this movie a real unique watching
experience, that is powerful and effective.
Multiple themes come by in this movie. It's a drama, a comedy, a coming of age movie and even a crime movie. With all these multiple themes in it the movie still manages to feel as a whole, even when the main character himself ages and drastically changes, through the circumstance he has to endure.
The movie focuses on the Gypsy life, which us outsiders never get to see or understand much about but it has all of the stuff in it you always hear and read about. It seems like an honest and true enough portrayal. The movie mainly focuses on one boy, who's life seems empty and meaningless and who is being somewhat forced to enter the criminal life due to the bad circumstances he lives in. When he is put outside of his 'safe' environment he starts to age fast and the movie becomes a real coming of age movie, in which the main character also decides to make his own destiny.
Emir Kusturica seems definitely like a capable director to me, who's movies also always seem to have a surrealistic undertone in it. The movie is raw and gritty, also with its depressing settings, but still the movie manages to feel very lively. It makes the movie a real powerful and effective experience.
The movie also has some great actors in it, who all seemed to be born to play these parts. Davor Dujmovic was a great leading man in this movie, despite of his still quite young age. In real life he actually ended up worse than the his character in this movie and he died in 1999 after suicide by a drug overdose.
A really well made movie that makes this a great little movie to watch!
This film is the first Emir Kusturica's movie which I have ever watched, and I am really impressed by this film. Every scene is fulfilled with Kustrica's poetic and beautiful images. In addition, I think one of the most fascinating points of this film is use of colors in its screen images; for example, faded white of background, lightly green of grass, and brilliant dark blue of river. It is sure that those brightly colors assist Kustrica's distinctive composition of each frame. Especially, in the last part of the film, Kusturica takes Perhan's profile in close-up when he is smoking. Though it is a close-up shot of portrait, Kusturica arranges the Perhan's face in the left side of frame, and the arranging of portrait is prominent by the remained part of the frame is fulfilled with whitened and faded background. I like the balance of the arranging in this shot. By the same reason, I also like the scene of bathing at river; the colors which are arranged in the frame effect to show the Kusturica's poetic shots.
One of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. I saw this film years ago and I was really struck by the acting skills. There were moments in this film which left me teary eyed because of the bond between the main character and his younger sister, and his struggle to do better for himself and his family. I've never been much of a foreign film fanatic, but this film rates high with me. I recommend anyone to view this film. I have no idea if this film is available on DVD. I would love to get a copy though. The child actor who plays the young sister is remarkable. Honorable mention goes to the wonderful scenic shots.
In this luminous tale set in the area around Sarajevo and in Italy,
Perhan, an engaging young Romany (gypsy) with telekinetic powers, is
seduced by the quick-cash world of petty crime, which threatens to
destroy him and those he loves.
In some way, this film can be seen as a parallel with "Stalker" because of the telekinesis aspect. That is a small part of the overall picture, though, and may not be a fair to compare he two. Either way, this film is much more light-hearted and with a bit of the surreal.
Whether the gypsy world is anything like the way the director makes it out to be, I have no idea. But based on this and his other films, it sure seems like a fun place to live.
This is a very well crafted coming of age story of a young Gypsy boy
who goes through a lot to discover that he can't escape fate.
It's cyclical structure makes it feel like it's an unending story which is bound to repeat it's self with every new generation, and once can't help but notice this.
The use of magical realism to enhance the narrative is also well done, and as much as it comes of as a motif at first, we finally see the relevance of it all during some of the final scene.
It's mixed genres also makes it easier for us to come in to the film, and join our protagonist through he's journey. Through a bit of comedy the director makes it easy to address some of the subject matters he dives into.
I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to everyone.
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