9 April 2001 | the red duchess
'Time of the Gypsies' is a big, full movie.
It is full in the way a magic realism novel is full, with its intergenerational cast of characters; its vivid sense of place, the weather and community life, where private is always public, where joy and tragedy are inextricable; where magic, dream and delusion are indistinguishable.
It is full in the Fellini sense, with its grand, often hallucinatory, set pieces; its profusion of grotesques; its bursting compression of many plots; its general noisiness.
It is one film containing many simultaneous films (a gangster film; a surreal road movie; a romantic comedy; a rites-of-passage; a Christian allegory).
It somehow feels a little thin, like a tapestry of chunks from a massive novel. It is certainly a prime example of retrospective dating - at the time it seemed a masterpiece; over a decade on, it's pastiche Kusturica.