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|Index||26 reviews in total|
40 out of 50 people found the following review useful:
A remarkable movie in Kusturica's style, 23 May 2004
Author: dragosiulian from Lausanne, Switzerland
I think this movie won't surprise anyone who has already seen another
movie by this great film-maker: it is the same place (Blakans) and
style as we are used to. If you liked his other movies, you will surely
like this one too.
The story develops around a small bosnian village, where the lives of his inhabitants are changed by the war that shattered Bosnia 12 years ago. So far nothing extraordinary, but what makes his movies different are the atmosphere and life that springs out of every image.
There are two levels at which you can perceive this movie: the first is the rational level: the story, the gags (as in all his movies, humor has a central part) and so on. The second might be called irrational, because it has to do with identification and feelings: you are taken out of your seat and are part of what happens on the screen. Drama is placed very closely to comedy, and sometimes the change is so sudden your laughs freeze on your face. This I guess is the landmark of this movie: dramatic scenes build upon, and increase their strength from, funny scenes. After all, nothing can be taken seriously in the Balkans :-)
I won't say too much about the story, partly because I don't want to spoil your fun, partly because I feel it's unimportant. Suffice to say that the war is presented only by its "reflection" in peoples lives -- this is what matters most in Kusturica's view. There are no battle scenes.
I think the only thing I can reproach is that once or twice I felt the gags were exaggerated, a bit unnatural. But all Kusturica's movies have a dose of fantastic, so this is not a real problem.
I cannot end without pointing out the great performance of the lead actor, Slavko Stimac (Luka). All in all, I would strongly recommend this movie.
29 out of 38 people found the following review useful:
kusturica's best, 16 October 2004
Author: ruiresende84 (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Porto, Portugal
This is the best Kusturica's film i have seen. I was very pleased and
smiling when i got out of the cinema. It's is very nice to watch that,
being always himself, the director was able to improve his style and
understand the most powerful elements of each of his previous films, so
this time he mixed the lightness and joy of "Crna macka, beli macor"
(black cat white cat) with the seriousness and dramatic feelings of
"underground".. plus a romance, which is truly explored for the first
time in a Kusturica's film, and with high sensitivity i must say.
So, in this one the scenery is a typical Black cat, a almost wild village near the serbia - bosnia border, where a railroad is being built, in the middle of a feeling of pre war. Here we find the main character, this humble man with a (devily insane) wife and a son. Things move forward and he looses both when she escapes with some Hungarian and he goes to war where becomes a prisoner. Than we have the last important character showing up, Sabaha (performed by a dazzling Natasa Solak, truly beautiful). Around this context Kusturica builds a very intense psychological diary of the man, who has constantly to decide whether to save his son or stay with his love (you'll understand how when you get to watch the film), as well as to deal with his returning wife vs his new lover. Better to observe that in the film than to talk about it. Apart from that you get a lot of Kusturica elements and typical way of making laugh, such as through a mule who is constantly trying to commit suicide in the railroads or the fantastic scene in the football game. In opposition to this you have this scene where Luka (main character) desperately grabs his son foot ball and cries over it. Powerful. Mixing the beautiful Balcan's landscapes and the ambiguous, but typical and enjoyable "no smoking" soundtrack and never loosing the posture of portraying ex yugoslavia social environment (like in the references to Tito, ex dictator of the balcans), kusturica creates this romantic but also dramatic comedy, which is the most difficult thing to put in films, as far as i observe. You have in this one that strange laughing/crying effect you find in for instance La Vita e bella or in most of Chaplin's movies. You spend the movie laughing but suddenly you feel very sad, and disturbed and understand you saw something sensitive and great...
From time to time pace gets to slow and if the film was 15 min shorter it wouldn't be worst. Apart from that it's a powerful European creation. It's Kusturica for sure. 8/10
25 out of 31 people found the following review useful:
Life's really a miracle, 5 April 2005
Author: Fabrizio from Rome, Italy
Life is really a miracle, or rather some miracles. And one of them is
to realize that at least one director, despite of the lack of ideas,
capabilities, culture and courage nowadays creeping through the modern
cinema background, can still shoot such wonderful masterpieces.
Kusturica perfectly draws scenes and characters, plays with music and
animals, skilfully weaves the plot and cover the whole lenght of the
movie with something magic that only a Jugoslavian can create. This is
film obviously shows also a dramatic and harsh reality, but always
relieved by a light-hearted approach to life.
I do not really understand how can someone assert that this movie is a copy or a repetition of previous Kusturica's ones. Should have any sense, for example, a critic to the great Kurosawa because some of his genial masterpieces are similar one another or since they deal always with samurai's stories?
26 out of 33 people found the following review useful:
It's a great movie, 24 May 2005
Author: alex_kipiani from Georgia
It's a best movie I have seen during the last few years. After the film I had feeling that Hollywood is just a factory producing cheep colored jewelry. The film is a drama with happy end. In this movie you can find real feelings, real values. There is described the philosophy of war, how stupid and silly it can be. Kusturica's humor is sharp and true. The most funny for me in this film was a place with international "peacekeeping" organizations , there "role" in solving of conflicts, "saving" people. In fact the author shows how useless and inadequate are those organizations in such cases. Kusturica is a great as usual and the soundtrack like in all his films too.
18 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
The greatest film, 25 May 2005
Author: Daniil Volkov
Emir Kuturica offers us an incredibly alive cast and a gripping journey to experiencing the whole gamma of saturated human emotions. Whether at peaceful life or at war, sharing joy of being with friends or bitter taste of parting, the characters in the film are given a fascinating ability to see beauty in every moment of their life. They are bright personalities, they are full of dignity, they are honest and direct in their feelings, and they experience life to the full. Lively motion of camera & beautiful sceneries bring the final touch. A remarkably colourful film. Highly recommend to everybody who is into really good cinema.
17 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
Life is really a miracle, 4 November 2005
Author: fernando telles da silva from Brazil
Life is a miracle-a great title for a great movie
Kusturica has the talent to give us a film that will make the saddest person smile and think to himself that life is really a miracle, while it lasts, and we should enjoy every second...the movie transports it's viewers to a typical Kusturica world, full of music and dreamy situations. He tries to show us that life is not written in a straight line, that the most unexpected events like falling in love in the most dreadful scenario (i.e. war) can happen when you least expect it.
A film that touches the human soul, that will make you cry as well as laugh... just like real life.
14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
A smooth ride for your money., 14 August 2004
Author: dries from belgium
Talented forward Milos Djukic dreams of playing for Partizan Belgrado.
But his dream shatters when the war between the Serbians and Bosnians
escalates. He gets drafted by the Serbian army and must report for
duty. Disaster strikes when he gets captures. The only way to free him
is to trade him for a Bosnian nurse who's held captive at his fathers
The least i can say about this movie is that is surprised me. Surprised by its drama, comedy, romance, absurdity.. Yes, this movie has it all. It combines all genres in a terrific mixture which interested me from the beginning until the end. Which is not an easy thing to do considering that this movie lasts two and a half hours. It gets along quite smoothly without real twists in the plot or having to accelerate 'cause there isn't a real climax this movie strives to (accept the obvious one, but thats not what this movie is really about).
Don't expect to get blown away by this picture, it wont knock your socks off. It'll give you a nice, subtle, smooth ride for your money.
17 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
Do we risk to get tired of Kusturica's carnaval?, 17 May 2004
Author: checcocinema from Venezia, Italy
Kusturica repeats himself, it's the first thing that comes to mind when
leaving the cinema. Still, this is not necessarily a negative sign, for
an author who has been able to create "Underground" or "Black cat,
white cat". This movie is an authentic hymn of joy to life, love and
humanity (sure, also that grotesque humanity that in the Balkan
countries may look wild sometimes), thus we can be happy that Kusturica
has achieved once again this objective. In addition, Kusturica stress
here in an unusual way for him the real power of sentiment between two
persons which can overcome war and ethnic division.
However, the instruments that Kusturica uses are this time too familiar for us and we cannot avoid the impression of the repetition of the same gags and expressions that we have seen in his previous films. This "déjà vu" becomes impressed in our minds since the beginning, just after the magnificent aperture of the movie. A "déjà vu" which allows us to anticipate the gestures of the each character. In addition, the carnaval does not allow to catch the important political assumption of this movie, which is that that war was a war instigated by all illegal dealers on both sides to preserve and increase their traffics and that first of all the fights happened within each camp, to eliminate those who were promoting a fair and decent life (see the murder of the Serbian mayor by his Serbian deputy). This political assumption is one of the strongest elements of the movie, but is Kusturica's carnaval reinforcing or diluting this powerful message?
I believe that Kusturica is now come to a real crossroad: either he continues to follow his colorful and sometimes grotesque representation of the Balkan soul and in this way simply repeating himself or is he addressing new territories with different instruments. This movie represents some old and some new for him: this is its strength and its weakness. I hope to see Kusturica taking the challenge and using his immense creativity to enter into a new dimension.
7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
beauty and madness in the Balkans, 19 February 2006
Author: dromasca from Herzlya, Israel
There is no film maker today to bring to screen the beauty and madness
of the Balkans like Kusturica does. 'Life is a miracle' will be seen in
time, I believe, as the ultimate film about the Bosnian war.
The main character Luka (played by Slavko Stimac) is a train engineer, building a railroad in a remote corner of Yugoslavia, near the Bosnian border. It's the end of the communist rule, and lingering ethnic conflicts start showing up and replace the patriarchal life. When war breaks, Luka's son will be drafted into the Serbian army and fall prisoner, while his wife runs out with a Hungarian singer. The conflict around that he tried to ignore by work, partying and booze invades his life. And still salvation is out there, the day a beautiful Bosnian prisoner (yet a neighbor of yesterday) shows up Luka will build a plan to make an exchange of prisoners between her and her son, but soon will fall in love.
Kusturica succeeds to paint in naive painters colors a world that slowly slides from normality into madness, where neighbors become enemies, and violence the rule. He is funny and exuberant, but his humor is the humor of the fool of the village, and his exuberance is the exuberance of desperation. As in many great movies it is love that redeems and brings back human feelings to where they should be. Kusturica builds a world of characters who are tragic and funny, colorful and overall avid to live a life despite of the vicissitudes of history.
8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Surrealistic, Funny and Romantic, 8 August 2008
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In 1992, in a small Bosnian village, the Serbian engineer Luka Djuric
(Slavko Stimac) is constructing the local railway and lives in the
middle of nowhere with his beloved aspirant soccer player son Milos
(Vuk Kostic) and his annoying former opera singer wife Jadranka Djuric
(Vesna Trivalic). After a soccer game, Milos expects to be invited to
play in the Partisan' team, but is called-up to the army. Luka can not
believe that a war is beginning in his country and forces his son to
join the army. Meanwhile after Milos' farewell party, Jadranka leaves
Luka, traveling away with a musician. When the war reaches the area
where Luka lives, Milos is captured alive by the enemy. Later, the
Muslin nurse Sabaha (Natasa Solak) is abducted by the Bosnian soldiers
and the lieutenant asks the lonely Luka to host her as prisoner because
they would try to exchange Milos for Sabaha, who belonged to a wealthy
family. As the days go by, Luka and Sabaha fall in love for each other
until the day that Jadranka returns and the trade of Milos per Sabaha
The beginning of "Zivot je Cudo" is surrealistic and funny and annoying at the same time. The character Jadranka Djuric is one of the most bothersome I have ever seen, and the weird situations made me believe that this movie would be a boring comedy. However, after the departure of Milos and Jadranka, the story becomes very attractive, and when Sabaha appears the astral of the story changes to a magnificent and dramatic romance. The gorgeous actress Natasa Solak is unknown in Brazil at least for me, but I loved her performance and her beautiful character. Further, I was cheering for a happy and commercial ending, and I also appreciated the conclusion with Luka and Sabaha leaving together the blackness of the tunnel metaphorically representing the life of Luka after Sabaha's departure to her country. Another plus in this romance is that it does not focus the cruelties of this bloody war. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "A Vida É um Milagre" ("The Life is a Miracle")
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