Children of the Crown

Institute History

  • 1994 Directors Lab


In 1958, with the help of the gypsy underground, Nikola, recently widowed, escapes communist Yugoslavia. With his two sons, Nikola settles into a Bronx neighborhood in search of a new world and a better life where a mixture of Croats, Serbs, Albanians, Montenegrins, Macedonians and Gypsies have recreated a little Yugoslavia.

As Nicola's two sons, Valentino and Pashko, are drawn into the various subcultures within the Bronx, Nikola tries desperately to hold together the dreams he envisioned for his family in the New World. Valentino heeds his father's warnings and rejects the gypsy lifestyle.

But ten year old Pashko is seduced by the mysticism of the Gypsy King, Tiho, who promises a life of unlimited wealth, success, and pleasure if the boy agrees to participate in a fabled gypsy tradition. Pashko meets Tiho's challenge by fighting Tiho's son, Zofi, in a sand pit for the right to be heir to the gypsy crown. Pashko wins the fight.

While Pashko becomes increasingly entrenched and imprisoned by his new position in the gypsy underworld, he falls in love with a young gypsy girl, Katarina, who he helps to free, hoping that one day they will be reunited. Learning that the gypsy culture is ruled by fear and isolation, Pashko struggles to maintain forbidden relationships with his father and brother but soon realizes that he must make a dangerous choice.

Spanning two volatile decades which witness the Vietnam War and the assassination of JFK, CHILDREN OF THE CROWN follows the path of Pashko in his rise to power among the Bronx gypsies and in his desperate struggle to escape. While incorporating elements of magic and mysticism, the story explores and juxtaposes the traditions of the old world with the deterioration of the family, as Pashko searches for salvation and redemption in his new world.

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