23 May 2004 | dragosiulian
A remarkable movie in Kusturica's style
I think this movie won't surprise anyone who has already seen another movie by this great film-maker: it is the same place (Blakans) and style as we are used to. If you liked his other movies, you will surely like this one too.
The story develops around a small bosnian village, where the lives of his inhabitants are changed by the war that shattered Bosnia 12 years ago. So far nothing extraordinary, but what makes his movies different are the atmosphere and life that springs out of every image.
There are two levels at which you can perceive this movie: the first is the rational level: the story, the gags (as in all his movies, humor has a central part) and so on. The second might be called irrational, because it has to do with identification and feelings: you are taken out of your seat and are part of what happens on the screen. Drama is placed very closely to comedy, and sometimes the change is so sudden your laughs freeze on your face. This I guess is the landmark of this movie: dramatic scenes build upon, and increase their strength from, funny scenes. After all, nothing can be taken seriously in the Balkans :-)
I won't say too much about the story, partly because I don't want to spoil your fun, partly because I feel it's unimportant. Suffice to say that the war is presented only by its "reflection" in peoples lives -- this is what matters most in Kusturica's view. There are no battle scenes.
I think the only thing I can reproach is that once or twice I felt the gags were exaggerated, a bit unnatural. But all Kusturica's movies have a dose of fantastic, so this is not a real problem.
I cannot end without pointing out the great performance of the lead actor, Slavko Stimac (Luka). All in all, I would strongly recommend this movie.