Best Movies by Farr
When Father Was Away On Business Poster
Released Runtime Category
1985 135 Drama, Foreign Language
Director Language
Emir Kusturica Serbian
Moreno De Bartolli, Miki Manojlovic, Mirjana Karanovic

When Father Was Away On Business

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What's it About

Set in 1950s Sarajevo, this film portrays oppressive times in Tito's Yugoslavia as married official Mesha (Manojlovic) is sent to work in the mines as punishment for flirting with a sexy female comrade not his wife. Younger son Malik (De Bartolli) survives this period of uncertainty with a measure of hope and humor. He believes his father is off on business, as his long-suffering mother (Karanovic) has told him. When Dad returns from his lengthy trip, normal routines resume, with the master of the house a touch wiser and humbler.

Why we love it

Director Kusturica's triumph evocatively portrays a challenging time and place, and against this grim backdrop, goes on to paint a warmer portrait of childhood innocence and imagination, as the adorable Malik manages to put a hopeful, fantastic spin on circumstances and events unfolding around him. Manojlovic injects tremendous pathos into the character of Mesha, an all-too-human fellow caught in an inhuman system. A painfully honest, heartfelt work.

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"