After the Golden Palm for When father was away on business, Emir wishes to change his mind in the rock'n'roll of Zabranjeno Pušenje and records two albums. One day, he finds an article on the children traffic in which Gypsies are involved. The anecdote shocks and intrigues him. He wants to find more about this and meets a robber who passes the borders without passport and which tells him his history. With writer Gordan Mihić, he decides to start from this story. A first version of the scenario of the Time of the Gypsies was born. Via Miloš Forman, Kusturica comes into contact with David Puttmann, head of Columbia. The producer believes in the project and then proposes quite a big amount, seen from Sarajevo. The film is coproduced by the company of the director and the television of Sarajevo. Fulfilled by actors who are with rare exceptions amateurs, the film is shot from September 1987 to May 1988 in almost all the Yugoslav Republics, in Skopje , Belgrade, Nova-Gorica, Ljubljana and in Italy, in Milan and Rome. Shooting lasted 9 months; this was the only luxury Kusturica conceded.
The text of the monologue of the insane.
Perhan's journey crosses all the countries : leaving Skopje, he crosses Macedonia, then it's in Kosovo that Ahmed buys Irfan (Irfan's father wears the Albanian hat). Then they go through Serbia and Bosnia (the driver is from Brcko, north of Bosnia). Then they reach Croatia with the famous Fraternity and Unity highway (Belgrade-Zagreb), built by Tito after WW2, where we see the ghost of the mother. Finally they arrive in the hospital of Ljubljana in Slovenia.
Emir Kusturica : ”The film is just like the typical suit of a Gypsy. Under his shirt he wears three tee-shirts of different colours, his trousers seem to come from another planet… It is a film where everything mixes… The cinema being pulled about between video, television, music, literature, it can only have this strange form.”
Emir Kusturica, about Perhan's character : ”If he leaves his place, if he becomes a robber, it is not because he is bad, it is to cure his sister. I did not want to make moral assessment on the character. How can one judge somebody who does not have the choice? ”
The original title of the film (Dom za vešanje) means The house of hangings. As it was distributed abroad, the title was changed for obvious marketing reasons.
The homages to one of Emir Kusturica's cult films, Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather part II, are particularly evident throughout the film : beyond the physical resemblance between Perhan (Davor Dujmović) / Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and Ahmed (Bora Todorović) / Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), the similar topics are numerous (the transition from the godfather to his successor, rise and fall of a mafia family), and the homages sequences follow one another. Moreover, Emir included in his following film Arizona Dream a scene of this film that Paul watches on TV at Elaine's birthday.
There is a long version of this film, broadcast in episodes on the Yugoslav TV. This long version was published in a double DVD edition in Russia. Even thought it was edited by the TV studios, this version had the agreement of Emir Kusturica. The extra scenes give a new look onto the complex character of Perhan.
The long version is here in pictures.
Emir Kusturica has created an opera version of this film, with an original music by the No Smoking Orchestra. The première has taken place in the Opéra Bastille, in Paris, in june 2007.