Top positive review
24 people found this helpful
on 19 November 2005
This is a riot of a film - as one has come to expect from Kusturica. Filled with the joy of life, it is set in a wild Balkan Gypsy milieu of gangsters and their bling, dwarf brides "waiting for Mr Right", gallows humour (quite literally) and a father who refuses to stay dead long enough to make it to his own funeral. With characters and action like that, it is a million miles away from the worthiness and dullness of some European cinema, and refuses point-blank to take itself seriously even for one minute. It taught me the secret of writing pure comedy - the behaviour must be so outrageous as to be utterly beyond belief - for life itself has a habit of turning what might be tragic into comic relief.
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.