Movie I Even Met Happy Gypsies (1967)

94 min

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A glimpse into the life and trails of Bora, a Romani feather seller.


94 min






Avala Film

Roma with a bear in the movie Three (Tri) directed by  Aleksandar Petrović  (1965) represent a sort of a leitmotif, wandering troubadours who make otherwise anxious scenes more funny. It is no accident that Petrović took them as the protagonists of his most famous and successful achievement, I Even Met Happy Gypsies (Skupljači perja, 1967), the first movie of the former Yugoslavia to win significant recognition at Cannes, the  Grand Jury Prize  (along with the film directed by Joseph Losey, Accident). For the promotion at the festival, the producer invested a fortune by the standards of the time and did not regret it because the movie was purchased everywhere (it was shown under the title I Even Met Happy Gypsies), which was helped also by Oscar and Golden Globe nominations (the movie won the Golden Arena for Best Festival Film in Pula, although the competition was very fierce).

Like sex in the Makavejev’s movies, communication with a foreign viewer is in this case made precisely by the Roma, who are citizens of the world: although they live under socialism, this is little to be inferred. They have their own settlements with their own rules of life, they’re getting drunk in the taverns and will gladly break glasses with their hands, their music is fascinating, and they themselves look incredibly colourful, they’re impulsive and will get into a fight without hesitation. Petrović came up with an extremely attractive storyline, at the centre of which is the war between the “feather pickers”, the Roma who negotiate with the village chiefs, even with the mother superiors about picking geese and then sell their prey. Like in a gangster movie, here again there is a division of territories that the protagonists don’t really abide, and so Beli Bora (fascinating Bekim Fehmiu) provokes a duel with Mirta (Velimir Bata Živojinović), which leads to the most exciting scene in this film achievement, a duel in goose feathers.

Narratively, it is Petrović’s most rounded film, with a series of spectacular scenes, a visual backdrop and a very good cast of professional and non-professional actors which at that time could only be compared to the movie The Birch Tree (Breza), directed by Ante Babaja  (director of photography Tomislav Pinter). Olivera Vučo (at that time, she still wasn’t going under the name of Olivera Katarina), celebrated the traditional Roma song Đelem, đelem written by Žarko Jovanović, later known for the performance by Šaban Bajramović.


Author: Nenad Polimac

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