Otac na Sluzbenom Putu (When Father Was Away on Business) Reviews

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½ March 6, 2015
Kusturika's highly-acclaimed comedy-drama is actually rather contrived and overlong.
½ October 31, 2014
The Cannes winner in 1985, this film tackles the toll a war takes on one family that has its own dysfunctions. A working knowledge of 20th century Yugolav history would help with comprehension, but it's still an effective story.
August 4, 2013
While this movie takes place in Yugoslavia and hints at the tension between Yugoslavia
and Russia, the story is about a family told through the eyes of a young boy. It's warm, funny, sad, and--if you can stay with reading the sub-titles--thoroughly enjoyable.
½ June 16, 2013
Can be long at times, but never dull, a story of a man punished in a society that has no care for freedom of speech.

Despite him cheating on his lovely wife every second he could, I still found the father to have mad charisma, and he was good with his children. He just seems to have no shame when cheating on the younger girls, even with a pregnant wife or with his son around.

I guess I have no idea of the politics and beliefs from where this film was set, and the time period either. Only knowing my country, some of the stuff they seem to pride themselves on as a people, well it was, odd. To think this guy would have to go to a prison like camp for not thinking a cartoon was funny is beyond me.

And the only actor I even recognized was the French Woman from LOST. She plays a bit of a trap, and has lost a good deal of weight since this film.

Another thing in this film was the child nudity. Not gonna lie, it was weird. I have never seen that much before. Maybe it's my snobby Americanism ways, but I don't want to see the genitalia of kids. Not to mention I really didn't need to see a circumcision. Maybe I'm just a prude, or not yet a parent, but it was just weird.
May 27, 2013
Another charming movie by Emir Kusturica. Whether this guy shows us the plights of an entire nation or the everyday life of a family he does it in such an entertaining way that you 'll be surely enticed for the whole movie. Here he does a little bit of both. He shows us the plights of an entire nation through the everyday life of a family. The performances are excellent with Miki Manojlovic, Mirjana Karanovic and Moreno D'E Bartolli standing out, the humour is black and always present, the direction is smooth and suits the screenplay and the musical theme is a gentle caress to our ears. An essential film.
Super Reviewer
July 23, 2012
I tend to read friends reviews because I always want something new experience and it helps me discover gems that I otherwise would have never seen. Which brings me here today reviewing When Father Was Away On Business and it's gonna be really hard for other Yugoslav movies out do this classic.

When Father Was Away On Business plots deals with family and political issues in post WW2. What really caught me by surprise is how invested I became with it characters that I didn't notice the political context of movie until the end of film. This film effectively illustrates the absurdity of the oppression of free speech and any system used to try and enforce it in such an effective way that it makes you think. It handles it political message very well and doesn't shove its beliefs down your throat. Mesha, played by the magnificent Miki Manojkovic, is a very dynamic character. He's a father who's very caring about his family, but has no shame about cheating on his wife. All the characters feel fleshed out and it's makes them actual people. My favorite scene, which I won't spoil for those who haven't seen it, it involve Malik losing someone he loves which I found heartwarming and tragic at the same time. When Father Was Away On Business is a rare historical movie that balances romance and politics so well anyone can get into it.

The cast played a huge role in making this good. Every part and every character was played by the right actors that it felt like I watching reality. The direction is masterful smoothly telling a story and keeping its viewer engaged. Now I notice When Father Was Away was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign film and didn't win. Which have made sense if Ran had won it since it was nominated in the same category that same year, but it lost to La Historia Oficial (The Official Story). Despite not winning best picture, it's a film that truly worth that award and worth watching.

When Father When Away On Business is historical, political, and romance in a perfect combination in such a quality film. This is truly worth a watch.
January 19, 2012
Quite restrained for Kusturica. I imagine it being semi-autobiographical
½ October 31, 2011
This film is dealing with the period when Communism was introduced to Yugoslavia and show us how that affected a family living at Sarajevo. We watch the story from a young child's perspective, who's father has been imprisoned because of his political beliefs. The movie is very well structured and leaves us a sweet - bitter taste of nostalgia about Tito and that period in general, plus it analyses the family relationships and the family violence from which the characters will never escape.
September 9, 2011
I queued this because it is one of the winners of the Palme d'Or I have not yet seen, and it has been an interesting journey to see the difference between what the US thinks is a great film and what the rest of the world thinks is a great film. I don't know if "When Father Was Away on Business" is a great movie, but it is a pretty darned good one. The political situation is a main character floating in the background, and I wish I knew more about post-WWII Yugoslavia to better appreciate it.
July 13, 2011
melhor kusturica de todos.
Super Reviewer
December 8, 2007
One of my favourite movies of all times! Best Yugoslav movie ever!

Kusturica became legend with it and there is a reason why!Everything is done perfectly and there was no surprise when it won 1985 Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) and the FIPRESCI Prize... I am still not sure why was nominated for the 1985 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film but it did not win it... politics, maybe?

Set in post-World War II Yugoslavia during the Informbiro period, the film tells the story through the eyes of a young boy Malik. His father Mesa (played by Miki Manojlović) has been suspected of working for Cominform and sent to a labor camp after a careless remark about a political newspaper cartoon.

The movie opens in June 1950 with a local's serenading field workers. He sings Mexican songs because it's "safer", and children climb trees and play around. The story is from the perspective of the boy, Malik, whose mother Sena tells him that his father is on a business trip. Malik is a chronic sleepwalker.

After a while, Mea's wife and children rejoin him in Zvornik. Malik meets Maa, the daughter of a Russian doctor. He falls in love with her, but last sees her when the ambulance takes her away.

At the wedding of his maternal uncle Zijah, Malik witnesses his father's affair with a woman pilot. She later tries to commit suicide by using a toilet's flush cord. Sena reconciles with her brother Zijah, who's been diagnosed with diabetes.

Read that again... crazy story becomes real life, and real life becomes crazy story, and everything is so smoothly run by the Master himself: Emir Kusturica!
Super Reviewer
August 5, 2008
nominated for best foreign film by NBR, at the golden globes, and at the oscars
½ February 18, 2008
I didn't like it as much as I enjoyed Underground, but it was greatly written, acted and directed nonetheless. I just wish it would have been a bit more sarcastic than tragic.
January 26, 2008
Brilliant! Kusteurica knows how to tell riveting stories that make you laugh and pinch your heart.
October 12, 2007
Actors and Plot coming soon :)
October 4, 2007
good enough, but I expected much much more from the director of Underground. anyway, this guy is a genius. he knows what he is doing and he does it good!
June 20, 2007
Interesting film, based on historic events in the former Yugoslavia. Featuring a young Mira Furlan...
June 5, 2007
Black comedy about the communist times, similar to "Tito and I".
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