Time of the Gypsies


Director Emir Kusturica
Original title Dom za vešanje - literaly : The house of hangings
Release 1989 (France)
Original language rrom
Length 2h15 (cinema version), 5h (long version)
Music Goran Bregović
Script Gordan Mihić, Emir Kusturica
Photography Vilko Filać


Best Director Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, 1989

  • Best Director Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, 1989
  • Best foreign film at the Guldbagge Awards of Sweden, 1991


Perhan is a Rom. Natural son of a soldier and gypsy, he is raised with his ill sister by their grand-mother in the suburbs of Skopje in Macedonia. The family life turns around an accordion, a turkey and a chaotic son. Perhan falls in love with the neighbour's daughter and decides to earn a lot of money to have to right to marry her. He enters Ahmed's clan and starts a life made of small and unclear business. Perhan turns out to be prisoner of a world he doesn't want. He only has love left. His destiny is dramatic without hope of redemption, but Perhan hangs to life by pride. He will fell from very high, the European dream is far and still unreachable. The Gypsies are condemned to suffer and to wander, but with dignity…




B.O.F. Time of the Gypsies

The soundtrack of this film was published with the one of Kuduz, for which Goran Bregović has also made the music.

Titles, details & lyrics of the soundtrack

Buy online : Amazon.fr, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.es, Amazon.it.


CountryFormat audio languages subtitles languages buy online Description
France VHS PAL rromFrenchAmazon.fr
France DVD Z2 Rrom 5.1, Rrom 1.0, French 1.0French Amazon.fr Remastered Edition
France DVD Z2 Rrom 5.1, Rrom 1.0, French 1.0French Amazon.fr Collector Edition
more details
drapeau_grece.jpg Greece DVD Z2 Rrom 2.0 Greek Long version
more details
drapeau_serbie.jpg Serbia VHS PAL Rrom- yu4you.com
drapeau_serbie.jpg Serbia DVD Z0 PAL Rrom- yu4you.com
drapeau_slovenie.jpg Slovenia DVD Z2 PAL Rrom 4.0Slovenian Alternative edit
(2h22) : more details
Russia DVD Z5 PAL Rrom 5.1, Russian 5.1Russian Amazon.com long version (5h)
more details
USA VHS NTSC RromEnglishamazon.com


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 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.


  • Télérama Grandeur and damnation of the Gypsies. The gypsy quarter-world oscillates between misery and Maffia, shantytown and poetry, sordid and picaresque. And the chronicle, lyric and funny, skids towards the supernatural.



1) scene shot, but removed from the final cut
en/time_of_the_gypsies.txt · Last modified: 2011/10/01 16:04 by matthieu1