Celebrated Balkan filmmaker Emir Kusturica won his first Palme d'Or, the Cannes Film Festival's highest honour, for this exuberant portrait of 1950s Yugoslavia, as seen through the eyes of six-year-old Malik. As the country resists the pressures of Stalinism, many find themselves taken away 'on business' by the police for making imprudent statements against the government. But Malik's father Manojlovic finds himself imprisoned for an altogether less noble reason when his affair with the mistress of a high-ranking party official is discovered. Naively believing his Papa to be away on business, Malik must face up to life's sometimes poignant, often comic tribulations without him.
Don't let the genre put you off
- When Father Was Away on Business review by JD
The far reaching effects of Stalinism and that influence on Tito. Not a blockbuster plot. This is only a backdrop however for the superbly crafted view of the world as seen from the eyes of a 6 year old boy. His perception of his philandering and unreliable father is so childlike as to be nostalgic, his physical and psychological reaction to the stress suffered is tangible.
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- When Father Was Away on Business review by MW
A delightful, life-affirming portrait of a struggling family seen through a child's eyes and set against the backdrop of communist restraint in 1950s Serbia in which the stifling authority of Marshal Tito is ever present. The father, a libidinous rogue, is jailed not for political incorrectness but for an extramarital fling with the mistress of a member of the local party hierarchy. He returns from his period of absence "away on business" to preside over a hilarious alfresco wedding party which becomes increasingly chaotic as the drink flows. Like all Kusturica's subsequent films this early success displays his glorious mastery of gentle anarchy mixed with human affection and a strong sense of the absurd.