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BLACK CAT, WHITE CAT

France / Germany / Yugoslavia / Austria / Greece, 1998 (MIFF 1999, International Panorama)

Director: Emir Kusturica

The gypsies who populate Emir Kusturica's latest project, like those of his Cannes 1989 hit Time ot the Gypsies, live on the banks of the Danube River. These cheerful outcasts inhabit roughly constructed, semi-permanent dwellings and make a living via all kinds of skulduggery. The plot revolves around two gypsy dynasties, presided over by aging godfathers, who have a falling-out over a black market deal.

Stepping completely away from the sharp political comment of his multi-award winning Underground (1995), Kusturica finds a place in this remarkable film for a disappearing train, a woman called 'Ladybird' ("So small she is tiny enough to fit in a man's breast pock­et."), and a miraculous finale involving the feline of the title. The director chose the services of French cinematographer Thierry Aborgast, best known for his work with Luc Besson, to bring a sparkle and rich visual palette to this picaresque tour de force.

Double-crosses, exuberant parties, mishaps and prat falls. Fellini-esque scenes of pigs eating cars and a rousing score ol gypsy music. Black Cat, White Cat offers a banquet of cinematic pleasures.

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