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When Father Was Away on Business (1985)

Otac na sluzbenom putu (original title)
R | | Drama | 11 October 1985 (USA)
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 »

Director:

Emir Kusturica

Writer:

Abdulah Sidran
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Yugoslavia

Release Date:

11 October 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Papa est en voyage d'affaires See more »

Filming Locations:

Bosnia and Herzegovina See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,614, 14 October 1985, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$16,131

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$41,184
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Malkoc family are Bosnian Muslims, which is why the boys are being circumcised at their age. The Petrovic family are Serbs, while Ankica Vidmar and Franjo are Croats (probably Catholic). The Liakhovs are Russians, exiled because of their opposition to Stalin. See more »

Goofs

In the wedding banquet scene, the cake is hit and damaged by a football. A few moments later, it is shown intact again. See more »

Connections

References Moscow Laughs (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

 
1950s Yugoslavia as seen by a child
27 July 2009 | by lee_eisenbergSee all my reviews

There have been several movies about the adult world as seen by children. "Daniel" and "Matinee" are good examples from the United States. A good one from the former Yugoslavia is Emir Kusturica's "Otac na sluzbenom putu" ("When Father Was Away on Business" in English).

When Sarajevo man Mesa is arrested in 1950 for criticizing a cartoon, his wife Sena has to tell son Malik that the dad is on a business trip. As the movie progresses, Malik comes to understand the political status quo in this country straddling east and west.* Moreover, it becomes clear that Mesa is not the world's most responsible person, preferring to go screw attractive women to raising his son.

One thing is that I like seeing films about cultures that we rarely see. Beyond that, this look at political tensions - and how the boy has to learn about sex on his own - fascinates me. I definitely recommend the movie.

PS: Emir Kusturica also directed "Arizona Dream" (starring Johnny Depp, Jerry Lewis and Faye Dunaway) in the United States) and "Black Cat, White Cat" back in his native country.

*Tito's disagreements with Stalin led to Yugoslavia's expulsion from the Eastern Bloc, so it aligned itself with the west but maintained an Eastern Bloc-style government.


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