Time of the Gypsies (1988)

Time of the Gypsies Movie Review

Time of the Gypsies Movie Review

Time of the Gypsies (Dom za Vesanje in Serbian) is a 1988 Serbian fantasy drama film directed by Emir Kusturica and starring Davor Dujmovic and Bora Todorovic. It is a very interesting, albeit uneven film.

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“I don’t trust anyone anymore since I caught myself in a lie”

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It follows a young Romani man with magical powers who is tricked into engaging in petty crime. This is a very interesting, often even fascinating film that is unfortunately undone by its scope. I loved the themes here, but because the film has so many of those themes and too many subplots, it unfortunately never explores all of them properly and we are left with some rather rushed subplots. I loved the epic scope of the film, but I wish that it wasn’t that uneven as some scenes were amazing, but some were disappointing. But those that are great are so powerful and instantly memorable.

The character development is for the most part solid, but still that lack of focus hurts some of the characterization here with the supporting characters in particular being disappointing. The protagonist Perhan is pretty good and I liked Khaditza as well. Ahmed is okay, but some supporting characters including Danira and Azra should have been better realized as they are quite forgettable. And the character interactions and relationships should have been better, albeit some of those are pretty good.

Time of the Gypsies is a technically strong work. Kusturica’s directing is strong here with his style in particular being very interesting. The cinematography is terrific with absolutely fantastic scenery and some striking imagery. The tone is also solid as it is dramatic, but also comedic at times. And I also like how it dealt with its crime aspects quite a bit. The film is an interesting combination of drama, fantasy, crime and even comedy. And although the use of magic should have been a bit extended, I still really liked as it led to some phenomenal sequences that are visually arresting and very intense with the levitation scene being absolutely superb and so well realized.

This is a heartwarming film at times and it is also pretty clever. But what I loved about Time of the Gypsies is its sheer originality. The film is incredibly uneven, but it is so unique in its themes and setting, not to mention the fact that it is filmed entirely in the Romani language and that it deals with this rarely filmed population. But it is visually quite powerful and it has quite memorable characters and many unforgettable scenes. The score is stupendous and it really lifts some of the more epic and dramatic sequences. It is one of the finest aspects of the film without a doubt. The movie is also superbly edited and paced. It lasts for almost two and a half hours, but it is never boring or too drawn out. It is quite the contrary, the film is so ambitious that it needed a longer running time in my opinion. That would have helped the end product a lot along with the better focus. The dialogue is also pretty good and the film is grounded in reality. In the end, even though I thought that it could have been much better and much better developed, I still liked this movie quite a bit and I found it to be such an interesting, different experience.

Time of the Gypsies does have a lack of focus and is undone by its epic scope with some of the subplots and themes being rushed, but it is still such an immensely unique and interesting experience not only in its characters and story, but also in its mix of genres and amazing visuals. It is uneven, but nonetheless pretty good and containing many powerful scenes.

My Rating – 4

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Posted in 1980s, 1988, Drama, Fantasy, FILM DECADES, Foreign, MOVIE REVIEWS, Serbian and tagged , , , , , , .

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