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Film / I Even Met Happy Gypsies

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I Even Met Happy Gypsies ("Skupljači perja", "The Feather Gatherers") is a 1967 film from the former Yugoslavia, directed by Aleksandar Petrović.

It is about the Romani, or "Gypsy", community of Yugoslavia. These Romani are not nomadic but have settled down in a village. Bora, the protagonist, is the sort of fellow who drinks, hits women, attempts to buy women, and gambles until he literally loses his shirt. He's also a Lothario who is having an affair with a married woman, seems to be Friends with Benefits with a local singer, and is pursuing Tisa, a curvaceous teenaged girl. Tisa wants out of their grubby little village, but her stepfather Mirta has pledged her in marriage, to a 12-year-old boy.



  • The Alcoholic: Derd is seemingly always drunk. He gets so drunk that Bora thinks nothing of going to Derd's house and having sex with his wife while Derd lies passed out.
  • Anti-Hero: Let's see...Bora literally loses his shirt playing cards, and then steals his mother's TV to get the money back, and slaps her when she objects. He gets in knife fights. He gets so drunk in the bar one night that he smashes a beer mug and then slams his down on the glass, slicing it all to hell. He wants to have sex with a teenaged girl. Eventually he kills Mirta and has to run for it.
  • Attempted Rape: Tisa's own father-in-law Mirta tries to rape her. She escapes, and flees the village. Later, the truck driver that picks up Tisa also tries to rape her, and winds up flinging her out of the truck and into a field.
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  • The Chanteuse: A couple of scenes have Lence in the local bar, crooning Romani songs for the attentive crowd.
  • Death of a Child: A subplot has Bora and one of his lovers wake up to find that her baby has died in its crib. Bora tries to get the child baptized, but the bitchy Mother Superior refuses to baptize a dead baby.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The opening scene has Bora giving Tisa a ride in his car. He's feeling up a girl who is less than half his age, while she is giggling and saying stuff like "I'm not going to keep geese all my life!"
  • Hot Gypsy Woman: Lence, the singer at the bar, plays this straight. She sings and dances seductively and turns all the guys on.
  • Mood Whiplash: Bora, being Bora, is in a married woman's home for sex. In fact the husband is there, but he's passed out drunk, and a cranky baby is the only thing to bother the lovers while they have sex. Come next morning, the baby is dead.
  • No Ending: Tisa hitched a ride in a truck in hopes of getting to Belgrade. That turned bad when the driver tried to rape her; eventually he throws her out of the truck and she lands in a field. That's where her story ends. Bora for his part kills Mirta and runs for it. The police go house-to-house asking about him but get no help, and that's where his story ends. There's no resolution for either.
  • The Peeping Tom: It must be OK in this village for everyone to peep through the window and see if the pubescent boy that Tisa got married to can perform the deed. He can't, and Tisa leaves in disgust.
  • The Rival: Mirta is Bora's rival in the feather-selling business. At one point they had an agreement to divide territory between them but Mirta renegs. Also, Mirta is stepfather to Tisa, the girl that Bora wants.
  • Title Drop: Only in English. Both Lence and Tisa sing a Romani tune with the lyric "As I traveled on my long journey, I met a happy Gypsy too."
  • Would Hit a Girl: Bora slaps his own mother around when she balks at letting him take the TV, so he can sell it and cover his gambling debts.

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