When Father Was Away on Business

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When Father Was Away on Business
Directed by Emir Kusturica
Produced by Mirza Pašić
Written by Abdulah Sidran
Starring Moreno De Bartolli
Miki Manojlović
Mirjana Karanović
Mustafa Nadarević
Mira Furlan
Davor Dujmović
Predrag Laković
Pavle Vujisić
Music by Zoran Simjanović
Cinematography Vilko Filač
Edited by Andrija Zafranović
Distributed by Scotia International Filmverleih (1985) (West Germany)
Cannon Film Distributors (USA) (subtitled)
Hollydan Works (2007-2008) (Non-US)
Koch Lorber Films (2005) (USA)
Release dates
  • 12 September 1985 (1985-09-12) (West Germany)
Running time 136 minutes
Country Yugoslavia
Language Serbo-Croatian
Box office $25,053 (West Germany only)
$16,131 (USA only)

When Father Was Away on Business (Serbo-Croat: Otac na službenom putu, Отац на службеном путу) is a 1985 Yugoslav film by Serbian director Emir Kusturica. The screenplay was written by the Bosnian dramatist Abdulah Sidran. Its subtitle is A Historical Love Film. Produced by Bosnian Forum Sarajevo, financed by Bosnia.


Set in post-World War II Yugoslavia during the Informbiro period, the film tells the story through the eyes of the young boy Malik. His father Meša (played by Miki Manojlović) has been suspected of working for Cominform and sent to a labour 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, Meša's wife and children rejoin him in Zvornik. Malik meets Maša, 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.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: When Father Was Away on Business". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  2. ^ "The 58th Academy Awards (1986) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2013-11-10. 

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