Black Cat, White Cat [VHS]  
In Yugoslavia, Matko Destanov (Bajram Severdzan) ends up in debt to gangster Dadan Karambolo (Srdan Todorovic) after a failed heist. Dadan will agree to cancel the debt if Matko arranges for his son, Zare (Florijan Ajdini) to marry Dadan's daughter, who is so tiny that she has been nicknamed 'Ladybird'. However, Zare is in love with local waitress Ida (Branka Katic), and romantic complications soon ensue.
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Matko ends up oweing him money big time and by way of a bargain Matko agrees that his son will marry Dadan’s sister the improbably named Afrodita. What follows is a tale of criminals, love, gypsy music, more crims, loads of animals, lady shaving and a car eating pig to name but a few. This film is just mad and bonkers.
Director and writer Emir Kusturica is a visionary film maker and if you only ever see one of his films then make it this. The acting is wonderful, the comedy relentless, the ideas and imagination unparalleled and the animals are always a joy. This is cinema at its most glorious best, where it does new things in new ways and has a great big laugh at the same time. There are a couple of cats too just in case you were wondering – this is up there in my top ten films of all time – recommended till the cows, or even pigs, come home.
A Roma man owes a debt to Dadan, a gypsy mafioso surrounded by girls in white body-stockings and eye-popping make-up. In exchange for cancelling the debt, Dadan forces him to marry off his 17-year-old son to Afrodita, his stunted sister. The son has other ideas and another girlfriend, and searches for excuse after excuse not to marry her; while Afrodita equally has plans of her own. Into all this chaos comes the man's father, a snaggle-toothed veteran swindler now retired to a preposterously upholstered bed, who has a habit of stopping the show at critical moments to ensure the reluctant bride and groom are allowed to go their own way.
Mostly in the language of the Roma but occasionally lapsing into Serbo-Croat, the film detaches the word "Balkan" from "balkanisation" and proves that despite the upheavals of the last fifteen years Yugoslavia can become known for something other than blown-apart houses and desperate refugees tugging at western heart-strings. It also paints Roma life in bold, shocking colours; there are no heroes or villains in the story, just human beings as they are and as they should be - full of lust, vigour and chaos. A masterpiece of mayhem from Europe's most gifted director.
Oh yes - three more words - pit bull...terrier! This nutty pop-song provides Dadan with just the right kind of theme tune and was subsequently blasting out of every hi-fi in the Balkans.
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