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Black Cat, White Cat sees director Emir Kusturica, known for his critically acclaimed films “Underground” and “Time Of The Gypsies”, make a welcome return to his gypsy roots for a delightfully exuberant story of rivalry, blackmail, love and folklore. Two rivalling gypsy families are presided over by their esteemed eccentric grandfathers, Grga Pitic (Sabr Sulejmani) and Zarije Destanov (Zabit Mehmedovski). They become involved in a black market scheme cooked up by Zarije’s good-for-nothing son Matko (Bajram Severdzan), and his corrupt cocaine-snorting partner Dadan (Srdan Todorovic). After a double-crossing, Matko’s brother Zare (Florijan Ajdini) gets caught up in a sham marriage to Dadan’s dwarfish sister Afrodita and is ripped away from his true love, a warm, spirited barmaid, Ida (Branka Katic). What follows is an insanely fast-paced black comedy full of slapstick and colourful characters, both human and animal (in particular a pair of magical felines), all accompanied by a rousing score of gypsy music.
With a cast made up largely of Danube’s locals, this film is rich in gypsy culture and unique performances. Sabri Sulejmani steals the scene the minute he dons his gold plated sunglasses, while Florijan Ajdini and Branka Katic make an endearing pair as the young lovers. Srdan Todorovic is hilarious as the homicidal drug lord. Black Cat, White Cat is an immensely enjoyable film, brimming with personality and summer festivities. The cinematography captures the eclectic environment of the people of the River Danube and the beauty of the landscape. It’s quite a step away from Kusturica’s politically controversial “Underground” and I am sure that audiences will welcome this as a real celebration of life.