Opening 7 Sep 2017
Screenwriter-director Emir Kusturica’s newest film is “based on three short stories and many fantasies.” A consummate storyteller, Kusturica deftly mixes heady comedy and elaborate drama, with fantastical visuals, aggrandized audio and tantalizing music to tickle all the senses. Quirky characters, including animals, travel from one story to the next in the grand scheme of one person’s lifetime.
Kusturica plays a milkman (Kosta) who, as fighting rages in the Balkans, travels the front line daily. Mićalovic, as acrobatic extraordinaire Milena whose sights are set on Kosta, winds the clock, and with self-confident gusto plays matchmaker to surprise her brother. Larger than life, the versatile Manojlovic plays Zaga the brother-cum-officer-cum-groom-cum-no fool. Bellucci’s portrayal of the Bride‘s duality—mysterious past, and present feelings—sends a voluptuous current through Kosta and the storyline. Symbols to rely on inhabiting a Kusturica film are present: Kosta’s high-flying alter-ego twin, a milk-drinking Boa constrictor, a donkey cum comrade, et al. (He must have access to great animal trainers.)
Surreal, allegorical landscapes tone and light, and temperamental changes are reminiscent of Kusturica’s internationally acclaimed, prize-winning films. Black Cat, White Cat, 1998 – Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival; Arizona Dream, 1993 – Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival; and a third Palme d'Or for Best Director this time, Time of the Gypsies, 1988. Martin Sec and Goran Volarevic’s cinematography gamely follow all creatures from all angels; especially noteworthy is Stribor Kusturica’s music mix of percussion and instrumental. In the film’s final phase, the plodding hermit’s mission is as white and creamy as it was once crimson. Clearly, he is full circle in the comprehensiveness of life. (Marinell Haegelin)