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BLACK CAT WHITE CAT

SYNOPSIS:
Rubbish dump tycoon and gypsy Godfather, Grga Pitic (Sabri Sulejmani) and cement-works owner Zarije (Zabit Mehmedovski) are the best of friends even though they haven't seen each other for 25 years. Zarije's good-for-nothing son Matko (Bajram Severdzan) asks Grga to bankroll a black market deal involving a trainload of petrol, lying about Zarije's death to secure the loan. Matko brings crazed gypsy criminal and former war criminal Dadan (Srdan Todorovic) in on the deal which goes sour, leaving Matko with a debt to Dadan which must be repaid by the enforced marriage of Matko's son Zare (Florijan Ajdini) to Dadan's diminuitive sister Afrodita (Branka Katic). On the wedding day the unhappy couple refuse to co-operate, Zarije appears to die - this time for real - and Grga makes a surprise visit, resulting in chaotic scenes in which wrongs will hopefully be put right.

"It's overlong by ten minutes or so but that's about all I can find to quibble about with this wonderfully ramshackle comedy directed by Emir Kusturica (The Time Of The Gypsies, When Father Was Away On Business, Underground) whose association with gypsy life and culture brings its greates rewards yet. Kusturica took a pounding in some critical quarters over his 1994 Cannes Palme d'Or winner Underground and for three years maintained his vow never to make another film. Luckily he changed his mind and returns in championship style by accentuating the positive in a raucous celebration of life and love - any way you can get it. Finer plot details are too much fun discovering to reveal much more here but what's important is the rollicking good time you'll have with these characters who live on the banks of a Danube river never imagined by Strauss. Coke-crazed hoodlums juggle handgrenades, a pig slowly eats an abandoned car, a frenzy of betting accompanies a bizarre nightclub act involving a piece of wood, a nail and a certain part of the anatomy I won't name. Shots are fired, everyone gets drunk and falls over dancing while geese and chickens squak themselves into a frenzy. It's life on the edge to us and all in a day's work for Kusturica and company, including. Highly recommended and a splendid time is guaranteed for all."
Richard Kuipers

"Emir Kusturica's return to filmmaking after his masterpiece Underground is a crazy, exuberant ride into gypsy culture. He weaves slapstick humour, surrealism and wonderful insights about life and love into a sprawling paean to a vibrant but threatened culture. Originally conceived as a documentary, Black Cat White Cat defies conventional genre labels and carves out its own unique niche. The film rollicks along with some truly bizarre but unforgettable imagery - the two cats of the title, the unfortunate man literally caught up at the level crossing, the tree stump disguise and (my favourite) the pig that eats cars. In fact, there's so much going on at times, I found it a little difficult to follow. But stay with it - it's worth the effort. The cast of largely unknown actors bring a rarely seen vitality and realness to the characters. But special mention should be made of Srdjan Todorovic as the drug-addled Dadan. He is one of the zaniest individuals you're ever likely to come across. As you'd expect, the film is scored with gypsy music which is by turns annoying and invigorating. Black Cat White Cat largely eschews the political overtones that made Underground such a powerful experience. But in this wacky tale of double- and triple-crosses, arranged marriages, vodka and guns, Kusturica's created a world of myriad delights to captivate audiences once again. Maybe it's not a masterpiece, but it's a crazy, fun, flamboyant and brilliantly made film."
David Edwards

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

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SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

BLACK CAT WHITE CAT (MA 15+)
(Yugoslavia)

CAST: Bajram Severdzan, Florijan Ajdini, Jasar Destani, Bekir, Zabit Mehmedovski, Sabri Sulejman, Srdan Todorovic

DIRECTOR: Emir Kusturica

PRODUCER: Karl Baumgartner III

SCRIPT: Emir Kusturica and Gordan Mihic

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Thierry Arbogast

EDITOR: Svetolik Zajc

MUSIC: Voja Aralica, Dr. Nele Karajlic and Dejo Sparavalo

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Mile Jeremic

RUNNING TIME: 123 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Pinefilm

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 19, 1999







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