When Father Was Away on Business | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 25, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 25, 2016

classic review

When Father Was Away on Business

Director: Emir Kusturica

Writers: Abdulah Sidran

Stars:  Moreno D'E Bartolli, Predrag Manojlovic, Mirjana Karanovic

Runtime: 136 minutes

Plot: In a post-World War II Yugoslavia still under Stalinist rule in the 1950s, 6-year-old Malik is oblivious as to why his father, Mehmed, has suddenly disappeared.

Review: Set mostly in Sarajevo in the 1950's, the film references to the uneasy relationship between Marshal Tito's postwar Yugoslavia and the Stalinist Soviet Union. Working from a screenplay by Abdulah Sidran, the director creates a vivid portrayal of the family members. Malik's mother takes up work as a seamstress to support her father and three sons, while also yearning for her absent husband and forgetting the philandering that helped put him away.

The film, which follows a narrative style, traces the family through the crisis and back a sense of stability while capturing some of Malik's formative experiences, despite the absence of a father figure, including his first stirrings of love for an amazingly diffident little girl. The movie weaves around the plot in a vivid, yet touching and humorous manner, rendering it one of the best works by the director.

Reviewed by Mohaiminul Islam

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