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|Index||18 reviews in total|
I started to watch this movie with great expectation although I had
some fears too. In my opinion Kusturica together with Almodovar is
among the most creative directors in Europe. Movies like Time of the
Gypsies, Underground, Black Cat, White Cat are so rich, so imaginative
that I don't hesitate to call them masterpieces. That's the reason why
I was expectant. I was afraid because Life is a Miracle though still
being quite a fascinating work already showed some signs of artistic
crisis. I had at times impression that the director started to lack
ideas which resulted in self-citing.
Zavet was even more disappointing. It is well watchable still, has some really good moments but never comes to the point of truth, never reaches the poetical heights and freshness of Kusturica's above mentioned masterworks. what was surprising for me that even humor in this movie is quite flat. At times you feel that you are supposed to laugh but it is not funny at all. For example that flying guy from the circus canon. In the beginning it was somehow promising, I even had reminiscences of the red balloon from Arizona Dreams but after all there was no development and the end of the episode was unconvincing.
Zavet can still be enjoyable experience, especially for Kusturica's fans and indeed it is well worth watching as it is a hotchpotch of the director's hallmark elements but those seeking high artistic inspiration probably won't be satisfied
I don't know why some guys from US, Georgia or even from Bulgaria have the courage to express feelings about something they don't understand at all. For those who did not watch this movie - watch it. Don't expect too much or don't put some frameworks just because this is Kosturica. Watch the movie without prejudice, try to understand the whole humor inside - people of Serbia DID actually getting married while Bil Clinton bomb their villages, gypsies in all Balkans are ALWAYS try to f*ck you up in any way they can, LOVE is always unexpected, pure and colorful, and Balkans are extremely creative. For those who claims this is a bad movie I can see only that the American's sh*t (like Meet Dave, Get Smart etc) are much much worse than a pure, frank Balkan humoristic love story movie as Promise me. The comment should be useful and on second place should represent the personal view of the writer. I think the movie is great and people watch it must give their respects to the director and story told inside. It is simple, but true. It is brutal, but gentle and makes you laugh to dead.
Kusturika made it again. Another masterpiece. A coral comedy full of his own landmarks, with a frenetic rhythm and many glorious moments, we laughed and laughed, what a party! The music is everywhere, and also the shooting, the animals, the crazy bastards, sex and amazing gadgets and inventions, everything colorfully visual to entertain only. Pure cinema in essence. A wonderful experience to watch. And one is specially grateful since good comedies are so rare, and so wonderful. Well, this is one, and if you enjoyed Kusturica's previous films, you'll love this, although, as in all comedies, it is about a chemical reaction, and you have to be in the mood for it.
Before 'Zavet' there was similarity between Tim Burton and Kusturica artistic vision. They find their own, poetic style, and then they cowardly become prisoners of it. Burton has (and still have) Depp, Kusturica has Miki Manojlovic, and somehow they got critical praise for repeating same formula over and over again. However, there are persons like me who find joke funny only when they heard it first time. That's main reason why Kusturica's worst movies are 'Black cat white cat' and 'Life is miracle'. 'Zavet' is something completely different. You may like it, you may hate it, but this is NOT just another Kusturica poetic Balkanic dreamlike stuff. Of course, if you want to be praised, you have to play safe. It was very easy for Kusturica to make just another flying gypsies movie and get award. Fortunately, as a brave person he chooses to make movie that will be ironic look to his previous works. 'Zavet' can be described as a strong and very harsh parody on previous Kusturica movies directed by Kusturica himself. It is beautiful to see one big movie director to not take himself too seriously. This is quality that Kusturica have and even the biggest, like Bergman or Kubrick, didn't have. This movie is so meaningless that becomes absurd, so absurd that becomes deep, and so unfunny that becomes hilarious. Same stuff that make 'Plan 9 from outer space' cult would made this masterpiece to people who knows how to watch it. Average western viewer would not get few references. Most notable, tire shop owner is Srbljanovic , and this refers to Biljana Srbljanovic, famous Serbian dramatic writer. Politically, she is very active as left oriented liberal, and she despises Kusturica's political views and anarchism. Kusturica's 'everything but not subtle' take to her work was to castrate Miki Manojlovic in Srbljanovic shop. Second reference is made to Goran Bregovic previous Kusturica's composer. He formed 'Funeral and wedding orchestra' and start performing around Europe. Although he is praised as big composer, Bregovic is just performer and most of his songs (if not all) are poor covers of traditional Serbian songs. Kusturica's take on Bregovic was to confront one wedding and one funeral, with funeral mocking the wedding. Also, music is covering western classics as 'London Bridge is falling down' or French lullabies. You find this unfunny? Now you see how we feel in Serbia when listening Bregovic's horrible covers. I really liked this movie because it is not pretending to be deep, it is so overfilled with symbols that it becomes parody, and it is beautifully directed, as all of his works are. If you like previous Kusturica's movies, there is a big chance that you will hate this. If you don't like couple of his last movies, you may find this as pleasant surprise, because this is like Fellini directing 'Pink Flamingos'. On purpose. I have massive respect for this guy after 'Zavet'. Next Tim Burton movie would surely have main character with pale faces. Next Kusturica movies can easily be about aliens invading Earth. That's the reason why he is most interesting director on Earth, whether you like it or not.
"Father is still away on business" was headline of an review after "Promise Me This" premiere in Cannes. I do understand why many thinks the same but unique expression of Kusturica is still present in his new movie and is something why critics can't touch him. I had two hours of pure energy without rest. Even when Kusturica is suffering of lack of concentration or fear of empty space he is still unique and unspoiled. Surprisingly good performance of Stribor Kusturica. Much More close-ups and less landscapes then in "Life Is A Miracle". Marija Petronijevic has femme fatal world class potential, please don't spoil it. Surely, I recommend to everyone to see this film.
For those of you who are not aware with the theme that Kusturica continues to explore intermittently in his films--the Western assault on traditional Serbian values--it will be impossible for you to understand his narratives. This continuous theme, expressed through fantasy and outrageous comedy as its vehicle, is one that Kusturica has elected to mandate. Since his fantastic work and Magnum Opus 'Underground', Kusturica's films' 'Black Cat White Cat', 'Life is a Miracle', and recently with 'Promise Me This', his slapstick, carnivalistic style underscores the 'westernization' of Balkan culture, its ambivalent arrival and assault on the traditional idiom. In the case of 'Promise Me This', the paradoxical world of city (urban space) and village (traditional idiom) space are contrasted. The world of the city reflects western attributes that have ensconced the spatial and temporal setting; organized crime, sexual exploitation, a ruptured sense of identity and vehement disregard for traditional values--as expressed toward the young kid--villager. The end of the film further exemplifies this notion as we observe a funeral mass and wedding on a one-way dirt road. They are on a collision coarse; appropriately, the wedding, which represents the lifeline and pulse of the village, i.e. traditional values, are about to collide with the funeral mourners, exemplifying the death of tradition within this context. Yet Kusturica brilliantly examines this theme through his own unique, stylistic singularity. With his outrageous and flamboyant style serving as a vehicle in its portrayal.
It takes a Serbian or at least a Balkan familiarity to understand and
enjoy many of the situations, characters and jokes of 'Zavet' as well
as of many other films of Kusturica. See for example the opening
scenes, with the remote village in the Serbian mountains, with the
low-tech devices that defend the integrity and way of life of the
inhabitants, the nostalgia for the good days of the Communist rule, and
the awakening of the young brat watching his nude teacher at the sounds
of the Soviet hymn. Kusturica not only tries to depart from the tragic
history of Serbia described in his previous movies, but creates a whole
world of himself in the process.
This is not a political film or not an explicit political film in any case. It's a fun film before all. Kusturica creates a set of characters that we care about. Music plays an active role in this film same as in all his other movies. His style is direct and grotesque, we now what he feels about his characters and we know that he wants us to feel the same. The space he develops melds present, history and magic, and the colours seem to be of a Douanier Rousseau of modern cinema.
This is not a perfect film either. The principal flaw is the length, some editing and shortening would have been useful, as at some point in time the director seems to have run out of ideas and repetitions show up. It is yet one of the most catching, amusing, moving films that I have seen lately.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film seems to be getting an awful lot of stick which is quite
unfounded. Sure, all the usual Kusturican elements are present, but its
these ideas that make his films so special. The colourful barrage of
heady surrealism barrels along at an incredible pace but without
detracting from the energy of the movie.
The plot follows Tsane as he is sent to the big city, by his Grandfather, to sell the family's cow and return with a wife before Grandpa shuffles off this mortal coil. Of course, life is not that simple and in a sparkling series of ribald vignettes that defy the laws of physics, Kusturica gives the audience murder, prostitution, gangsters, castration and a whole raft of bizarre characters and situations.
However, at the heart of the movie is a quest for love and affirmation against the difficulties posed by the chaos of the region. In a gloriously anarchic ending, a double wedding is conducted in the midst of a gun battle, with the band playing on and all under the baleful gaze of a gravity defying human cannonball.
This is a fun movie and yes, maybe not all of Kusturica's ideas pay off, but we should all be thankful that he has the imagination, the verve and the bravery to experiment with these ideas in his films. I would take one average Kusturica movie over a thousand dull, turgid and pointless Hollywood blockbusters.
I gave this film 8 out of 10, reserving 10 for e.g Amadeus, and 9 for Slumdog Millionaire most recently. This film is close to Slumdog, but it is difficult to judge on such film without understanding Balkan life, mentality and a soul which Kusturica presents masterfully. To understand it you really need to be one of Balkan. This is an amazing movie, much better and more contemporary of his previous films, which are boring at this time, I think Kusturica is moving forward with this movie. I like humour (Balkan humour), photography is an art itself, each scene is artistic to the limit. Plot is probably a fairy tale , don't recall it now, but remember reading to my daughter-going-to sleep a similar story.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The movie celebrates life.
The world is setting itself for the innocent and the pure souls and everything has "Happy End", just like in the closing scene of the movie.
The movie has wonderful soundtrack, mixture of Serbian neofolk, Gypsy music and jazz.
This movie is very refreshing piece of visual poetics.
The watching experience is like you've been sucked in another colorful, romantic and sometimes rough world.
Like Mr. Kusturica movie should be.
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