I recently regained a grubby grip on this film masterpiece. Emir Kusturica‘s depiction of the charm and chaos between a sprawling Balkans family consisting of rival ‘gypsy gangsters‘ never ceases to amaze. The film consistently cements itself in any respectable top 5 favourite film lists. The film opens on the banks of the Danube, with the seminal techno classic ‘(I‘m a) Pit Bull Terrier‘ -a track crafted from the minimalist group Zabranjeno Pusenje, long before downtempo anthems bum–rushed the Eastern European dance music scene. However, this is just an opening sequence.
Do not be fooled by these wanna–be gangster buffoons and their hilarious bumbling bastardry –the plot opens up as the head of the family, Matko Destanov, unites his mob to make sure his daughter is wed and wed in a proper & timely fashion. The outcomes of these endeavours are heartfelt and often ill–concieved but ultimately, when played out on celluloid they will have you retching with laughter. You‘ll be gagging on your incomprehension of the trials and tributaries (yes, waterways) that the wedding party encounter.
Having been fortunate enough to traverse Bosnia a few years back; Kusturica‘s film is certainly reminiscent of the uneducated madmen that roam the countryside. Somewhat similar to the bogan or twit, this cariacature of clueless peasants from the Balkans is as interesting and humorous as it is sad and disappointing; with Bosnia a country particularly dire in despair. A place that an 80 year old professor who I stayed with in Mostar deemed “it is everyone against Bosnia. They have us land locked and it is each for their own“. Upon asking how he felt about the Croats, Serbs and other socio–political groups: “How do you think I feel when 100,000 people were slaughtered in this very town during a 2–day campaign“. A chilling reminder of the devastation of war. And it was less than 20 years ago. A ‘contemporary‘ war.