Black Cat, White Cat (1998)
The Serbian roma feelgood gangster movie. This is one of the biggest cult films for us Hungarians (and I can imagine, to Serbians ) , it’s such a unique take on the love of life, money, love, music, and the things all human beings crave from the weird mind of Emir Kusturica.
It takes place in the 90s, between wars in a true Balkan setting during a shortage of fuel, and a high rate of smuggling. Matko Destanov, a small-time roma smuggler and profiteer, lives with his teenage son Zare in a ramshackle house by the Danube River in eastern Serbia near the Bulgarian border.
He has plans to acquire a whole train of smuggled fuel, which he finds at cut-price. To obtain a loan that would subsidize the heist, he visits Grga Pitić, a wheelchair-using old gangster, who’s an old friend of Zarije Destanov, Matko’s father and Zare’s grandfather. Matko then plots the details of the job with an ally named Dadan, a rich, “fun”-living, drug-snorting gangster who has a harem, juggles grenades, and cheats at gambling. However, Dadan double-crosses him and glitches up the deal…
We also follow his son Zare, and Ida, the granddaughter of a restaurant owner lady Sujka, finding love in their own unique way which is then threatened by the dealings of Zare’s father.
It’s a wild ride with awesome-awesome music built into the world of the movie itself, it presents a different, harsh, unforgiving world while also shows us that you can enjoy life, and love ultimately conquers money. So it’s an age-old tale with a unique Eastern European viewpoint and a love-letter to music. There are still concerts over here that features this movie’s music, the whole genre is still popular here.
That scene with a pig eating a Trabant is the image that perfectly describes the mood and world of the movie, it’s maybe the most iconic imagery from it.
Maybe it won’t have the cultural or nostalgic impact for you, but if you can find a version with English subtitles, I highly recommend checking it out, seeing a different part of the world through the lens of entertainment, it might widen your perspective of the world.
Also, a pig does eat a Trabant in it: