TIME OF THE GYPSIES opens onto a rich landscape of family ties, humorous characters and anecdotes, then darkens into corruption and bloody revenge. It is a Gypsy’s coming-of-age story which by its second half becomes mired in dark melodrama and subject material abhorrent to God.
The film’s first hour is an enchanting comic pastiche of contemporary gypsy life revolving around Perhan, the mildly telekinetic grandson of the local witch, Hatidza. Perhan wants to marry his girl Azra, but her family refuses him time and again, even in the face of threats and a curse from his grandmother. Later, Hatidza asks Perhan to take his lame sister to the city hospital. Meanwhile, the “Sheik” persuades Perhan to come with him to Italy. Soon, he coerces Perhan into stealing for him along with his other street urchins. Thus, begins Perhan’s initiation into manhood, a descent into corruption, deceit and revenge.
When the Sheik has a stroke, Perhan is promoted to right-hand man. Now wealthy, Perhan returns to his Serbian village in Yugoslavia to claim Azra for his bride, but finds her pregnant. Reluctantly, he marries her, planning to sell the baby which he believes isn’t is. Returning to Italy, Azra dies in childbirth, but not before she levitates, convincing Perhan that the child is his.
Perhan returns to his sister’s hospital and discovers the Sheik has double-crossed him by absconding with her shortly after she registered. After a four year search, Perhan finds her and his son begging in the service of the Sheik. Sending them on to their grandmother, he stays behind to wreak revenge on the Sheik in a bloody and final ending, proving the premise that violence and deceit beget violence and deceit.
Though the film is well directed and well acted, it cannot be recommended because of nudity, lewd suggestive scenes, violence, and obscenities. “When God came down to earth,” a villager says, “he took one look at the Gypsies and took the next flight back,” leaving behind, the film implies, the gift of magic and the curse of belief in it. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Woe to the women who sew magic charms on all their wrists and make veils of various lengths for their heads in order to ensnare my people. Will you ensnare the lives of my people but preserve your own?’ 666 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘I am against your magic charms with which you ensnare people like birds and I will tear them from your arms…'” (Ezekiel 13:18-20).
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please address your comments to:
Ms. Dawn Steel
President Columbia Pictures
Burbank, CA 91505.
Obscenities, nudity and sexually lewdness; lying and deceit; violence; magic and blasphemy; and, revenge.