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Elijah Moore
Elijah Moore

Time of the Gypsies: The Film that Changed the Way We See Gypsies



Time of the Gypsies: A Cult Classic Film by Emir Kusturica




Introduction




If you are a fan of cinema, you may have heard of Time of the Gypsies, a 1988 film by the acclaimed Yugoslavian director Emir Kusturica. But what is this film about, and why is it considered a cult classic by many critics and viewers? In this article, we will explore the plot, themes, reception and legacy of this remarkable film that blends realism and fantasy, comedy and tragedy, and love and crime.




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What is Time of the Gypsies?




Time of the Gypsies (Dom za vešanje in Serbo-Croatian) is a film that tells the story of Perhan, a young Romani (gypsy) boy who lives with his grandmother and his sister in a shantytown in Yugoslavia. Perhan has telekinetic powers that he uses to perform tricks for money. He falls in love with Azra, a girl from his neighborhood, but her mother opposes their relationship. Perhan is also eager to find his estranged father, who abandoned him when he was a baby.


One day, Perhan meets Ahmed, a charismatic but ruthless gypsy leader who offers him a chance to make a fortune by joining his gang of beggars and thieves in Italy. Perhan accepts the offer, hoping to earn enough money to marry Azra and cure his sister's leg injury. However, he soon realizes that Ahmed has deceived him and exploited him for his own benefit. Perhan decides to take revenge on Ahmed and reclaim his dignity and freedom.


Why is it a cult classic?




Time of the Gypsies is a film that has gained a loyal following among cinephiles for its originality, creativity and emotion. The film combines elements of different genres, such as drama, comedy, crime, fantasy and musical. It also showcases the rich and diverse gypsy culture, language, music and traditions. The film features stunning cinematography, authentic locations, memorable characters and a haunting soundtrack composed by Goran Bregović.


The film also explores universal themes such as love, family, identity, betrayal, justice and destiny. It portrays the harsh realities of poverty, discrimination and violence that many gypsies face in Europe. It also celebrates the resilience, humor and spirit of the gypsy people. The film has been praised for its artistic vision, social commentary and humanistic message.


Plot summary




The life of Perhan




The film begins with Perhan's birth in a gypsy settlement near Skopje, Yugoslavia. His mother dies during childbirth, and his father leaves him with his grandmother Khaditza. Perhan grows up as an outcast among his peers because of his mixed heritage (his father was a Slovenian soldier) and his telekinetic abilities. He only finds solace in his grandmother's love, his sister Danira's innocence and his pet turkey.


Perhan falls in love with Azra, a beautiful gypsy girl who lives nearby. They plan to elope together, but Azra's mother intervenes and accuses Perhan of impregnating her daughter. Perhan denies the accusation, but agrees to pay a dowry to Azra's family if she gives birth to his child.


The journey to Italy




One day, Perhan meets Ahmed, a charismatic gypsy leader who travels around Europe with his gang of beggars and thieves. Ahmed is impressed by Perhan's telekinetic skills and invites him to join his group. He promises Perhan that he will make him rich and help him pay for Danira's leg surgery. Perhan agrees to go with Ahmed, leaving behind his grandmother, his sister and Azra.


In Italy, Perhan discovers that Ahmed's business is not as honest as he claimed. Ahmed forces his followers to beg on the streets or steal from unsuspecting tourists. He also kidnaps children from gypsy families and sells them to wealthy couples who cannot have their own. Perhan is shocked by Ahmed's cruelty and corruption, but he remains loyal to him out of fear and gratitude.


The betrayal and revenge




Perhan learns that Azra has given birth to his son while he was away. He decides to return to Yugoslavia to marry her and take care of his family. However, he finds out that Azra has married another man who claimed to be the father of her child. Perhan is heartbroken and angry. He confronts Azra's husband and kills him in a fight.


Perhan then goes back to Italy with Ahmed's gang. He discovers that Ahmed has sold Danira to an Italian couple who wanted a daughter. Perhan is furious and vows to take revenge on Ahmed. He teams up with Merdzan, another gypsy boy who hates Ahmed for abusing him. They plot to rob Ahmed's money and rescue Danira from her adoptive parents.


Perhan succeeds in stealing Ahmed's money and finding Danira's house. However, he faces unexpected obstacles along the way. He encounters Zabit, Ahmed's loyal henchman who tries to stop him. He also realizes that Danira does not want to leave her new family who treat her well. Perhan manages to escape from Zabit and persuade Danira to come with him.


Perhan returns to Yugoslavia with Danira and the money. He reunites with his grandmother Khaditza who is overjoyed to see him again. He also meets his son for the first time and names him after himself. He hopes to start a new life with his family.


However, Perhan's happiness is short-lived. He receives a letter from Ahmed who threatens to kill him if he does not return the money. Perhan ignores the letter and burns it. He then attends Azra's funeral who died from an illness.


The next day, Perhan wakes up to find that Danira has died from her leg infection during the night. He is devastated by the loss of his sister whom he loved dearly. He blames himself for not taking her to the hospital sooner.


Perhan then decides to confront Ahmed once and for all. He goes back to Italy with Merdzan and Zabit (who has switched sides) to face Ahmed in his mansion. They engage in a violent shootout with Ahmed's men.


Perhan manages to reach Ahmed's room where he finds him lying on his bed surrounded by money. Perhan shoots Ahmed in the chest but does not kill him instantly. Ahmed begs Perhan for mercy but Perhan refuses to spare him.


Perhan then uses his telekinetic powers to lift Ahmed off the bed along with all the money in the room. He throws them out of the window into a river below where they drown together.


Perhan then collapses on the floor from exhaustion and blood loss. He sees visions of his grandmother Khaditza who tells him that she is proud of him for avenging their family honor.


The film ends with Perhan dying peacefully on Ahmed's bed while Merdzan watches over him.


Themes and symbolism




The gypsy culture and identity




Time of the Gypsies is a film that depicts the gypsy culture in all its richness and diversity.


The film shows various aspects of gypsy life such as their customs,


their beliefs,


their music,


their language,


their humor,


and their sense of community.


The film also portrays the challenges that gypsies face in Europe such as poverty,


discrimination,


exploitation,


and violence.


The film explores how gypsies cope with these difficulties through their resilience,


their creativity,


their spirituality,


and their loyalty.


The film also examines how gypsies struggle with their identity in a changing world.


The film shows how some gyps


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