In the real world: Perhan is Davor Dujmovic, 19 year old boy from Sarajevo. He completed the high school on irregular basis (he doesn’t want to say which one). He passed the exams anonymously not wanting to show, not even with his eyes, that he is an actor who played in three movies (“When father was away for business” he played the older son in the family, in the “The magpie strategy” and now in “The time of the Gypsies”). He played accordion in both Kusturica’s movies. To this comment, he adds that he completed another school, basic Music school. He has a younger brother and a sister, father and mother. The family is already accustomed to have one actor and, as Davor says, everybody in the house, deal with it in a normal way.
So, how did you get into the movie, we asked him.
By pure luck, Kusta found me at the bar “Dalmacija”, where I was hanging out with my father. Then later on, after the movie “When father was away for business”, they called me for shooting.
Do you see your future in the movie, or maybe you think that after this shooting is finished, you’ll go back and be some kind of a student again?
I will leave the movie business when it becomes a bad business and it will become bad when I leave it (laughs).
Somebody once said that after this movie, you will become the most famous Gypsy in the whole world. What do you think about that?
The movie is remarkable and I am sure that it will make that possible for me.
Was it difficult to work, can you tell us some interesting stories from the shooting?
It was extremely difficult and at the same time so wonderful that no one even thought of quitting. We have worked for nine months. We started shooting when the temperature was +40 degrees and then there were also times when it was freezing. The movie is about life of Gypsies. That meant that I was forced to walk in my underwear and barefooted even when it was cold. For instance, in Milan, I had to swim in a river on -15 degrees. That was impossible. When I dive out of the water, because I dropped some gold in it, I was supposed to say “Fuck the water”, but I kept forgetting the line because it was so cold, so I had to repeat this scene a couple of times.
The movie is, so the people who have seen it say, so sad that even the members of the crew were crying while some of the scenes were taken?
Yes they were. And that is, in fact, the most incredible thing. I wasn’t crying because I was the one who was playing those scenes. But you can image, people are crying in all that noise, cables, cameras, reflectors… those are the facts that really speak for themselves. It wasn’t just a movie any more, that was the truth for all of us
Was it difficult for you to fit in the life of Gypsies, to get used to something that was new to you, something that represents the ordinary people?
It was hard. For me, at first it was the same as I worked with aliens. However, they were remarkable. They adjusted to us very quickly. My closest contact in the movie was with Ljubica Adzovic, she played my grandma. And it was nice to work with her. It sounds incredible, but she wasn’t acting. She just behaved as Kusturica told her to, and she just added her great life experience to everything.
What was the strongest link that kept the crew together?
It was Kusturica, of course, he has such an incredible authority and also a friendship was developed between us later on.
You are the tragic hero of the movie, mostly lonely or with the turkey. What was the faith that bounded two of you together?
Turkey is, in fact, the only one who is always on my side, always in my dreams. By my own decision, I sent him away from me, when I wanted to propose Azra, because I was all grown up then but not too long after that I got back to him in my thoughts. However, the turkey had a bad luck. According to the script, my movie uncle ate it. But later on, that didn’t bother me to see the whole world as some better or worse turkey.
The movie is a love story and it ends tragically. Perhan’s character has been developed from one twelve year old boy to a father, who dies at the end. Davor, could you please tell us how did you, as an actor, went through that transformation and how did you see your movie love?
First I had to learn that for a Gypsy, the woman is a possession and that there are no great wonders and surprises in love. But since I am not a “pure Gypsy”, I’m half army orphan; I deal with all those things differently. However, Perhan’s character is built in such a way that, at the end, he himself becomes a bad guy, and since the all other bad guys in the movie are already killed, there’s nothing much left but for Kusturica to “kill” me too.
How do you see your “maturing” in the movie? You have even become a father?
The entire 9 months of shooting, I lived with the script so it became totally normal for me. However, in this movie, there are so many miracles, which comparing to the fact that I got the son, seemed totally normal.
Can you give away some of those “miracle” scenes to us?
If we already accepted the fact that this is the movie about Gypsies, the people with great imagination, the people who believe in all miracles, then all those stuff which Kusturica did in the movie was actually matching that world and it seems as the only possible thing. For example, when my movie wife dies during the delivery, she flies to heaven and I also fly 42 meters high in the first scenes of the movie, you’ll see …
The movie is in the language of gypsies. How did the learning go?
Wonderful. First, you have to learn to swear and later everything goes smoothly
Finally, can you tell us something about your acting strategy? What does acting mean for you? You worked with amateur actors but also with actors like Miki Manojlovic and Bora Todorovic.
I’m more into amateur acting. And basically, all of them do exactly as told by the director.
What is Kusturica like as the director?
I haven’t been working with many directors in order to make comparison, but for me, he is the best.
The film premiere is tomorrow night. How do you expect that to happen, are you calm? We know for a fact that after presenting this movie you will be famous all over the world.
I would like this to end as soon as possible, that the audience finally gives their judgment. Then I’ll be totally calm. This way I’m still in some kind of a strange mood. The most difficult thing for me is to think what all those people really think of me and the movie. But fortunately, all of that will last much shorter than the shooting and duration of the movie itself.