Friday, March 04, 2005

Kusturica's Mad

Emir Kusturica is probably mad. I mean in the psychiatric sense. A long profile in today's Guardian recounts how the great, volatile Serbian filmmaker has now built himself his own Utopia,
a pastoral paradise, his own version of Plato's republic, in one of Europe's last great peasant redoubts.
The idea came to him in a typically epiphanal moment:

One day when I was shooting I noticed a shaft of light hit the hillside. "There I will build a village", I thought.
The 25 houses that are already built have been laid out
using his own idiosyncratic rules of classical proportion involving a set of ropes and a great deal of guesswork, "like the ancient Greeks did".
There's much else in the profile that's of interest, including his own complex identity, his relationship with Sarajevo and thoughts on the authoritarian corporatism of the western model of development, and even a little about the films.

But Kusturica is mad for another reason. The British censors have ordered him to cut a brief scene from his new film, Life Is A Miracle. And the offending shot? It's of a cat pouncing on a dead pigeon. Seriously, folks. Kusturica is threatening to pull the movie. And he rightly thinks the British censors are mad too:
I just don't get it. The pigeon was already dead, we found it in the road. And no other censor has objected. What is the problem with you English? You killed millions of Indians and Africans, and yet you go nuts about the circumstances of the death of a single Serbian pigeon. I am touched you hold the lives of Serbian birds so dear, but you are crazy. I will never understand how your minds work.
Read the rest.


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