A hungry wolf walks down the mountain to a village looking for food. He quietly makes his way among a flock of sheep and grabs one of them. The sheep starts bleeding and the wolf starts dragging his prey out of the flock. The other sheep just go with the killer.
This brilliant illustration of the “herd mentality” is the kind of stuff that Serbian director Emir Kusturica frowns at — and wins fans.
“Stupid Air Max Australia Online ,” he says, when asked to describe his feelings about walking on the red carpet. “For some people, the ultimate goal in life is to walk on a red carpet. It is a dream of them, but it is my nightmare.”
The Serbian, 62, has brought home awards from all the three big European film festivals — Berlin, Cannes and Venice — besides other awards from prominent international film festivals.
As head of the jury of the 2016 Shanghai International Film and TV Festival, Kusturica had no choice but to walk down the red carpet. The above story was his way of letting it known that his priorities lied elsewhere.
At the Kustendorf International Film and Music Festival, which he co-founded and is held in a Serbian village in January, “there’s no red carpet.”
In fact, the festival opened in 2008 with a burial procession of “Die Hard 4.0” at the Bad Films Cemetery! Eight years down the line, Kusturica admits he had given up his fight against Hollywood.
“I am just discovering that the cinema of today is really different from the 1990s. It is transforming into a new shape globally, and I hope it will thrive,” he says.
“A huge amount of films are made every year. When I was competing in 1985 in Cannes, the commission selected from 820 movies. Today, there are usually around 2,000. The quantity is growing, which doesn’t mean the quality is growing as well. In 10 years, the number of films will continue to increase, which means the number of commercial garbage will also increase.”
He says a new language has to be found — a language that is “in between television, YouTube and iPhones. We learned how to make cinema that will be shown on a big screen, but today’s cinema is abating to almost no screen.”
“In the end it is going to turn out like glasses, or it is going to be injected in your brain.”
He is not at all excited about the new technologies that have re-invented and re-defined cinema for some filmmakers, such as virtual reality, or VR.
“Visual reality?” he hits back, and then adds, “visual stupidity. For me, 3D is absolutely a degradation of cinema. It is an idea of how to squeeze human brain and make them absolutely addicted to such squeeze. Nobody can stop this trend of 3D or VR or whatever, because many people are just running after profits.”
But it doesn’t necessarily mean he has blacklisted the new technologies. His latest film “On the Milk Road,” in which he acts alongside Monica Berlucci, has computer-generated image of snakes that the characters in the film are supposed to be fighting with.
According to him, “technology needs to have a purpose and has to be seamless.”
Kusturica’s definition of a good movie is “what is sincere, emotional, bizarre, strange and what you don’t expect.”
That also describes his filmography. In the 1995 film “Underground,” Kusturica’s protagonist ends up masturbating in a brothel because the prostitute runs away following an air raid.
The film brought Kusturica his second Golden Palm award, and has a high rating of 9.110 on film reviews website Douban, or the Chinese version of Rotten Tomatoes. It had nearly 20,000 voters, a surprising number considering the film was never commercially distributed, neither is it easy to watch on the Internet.
Also known as “Once Upon a Time There Was a Country,” the five-hour epic recounts the 52 years of history of former Yugoslavia in his signature surrealistic visual and music styles.
It starts with a strange sequence of two young men riding atop a horse carriage while railed by a brass orchestra, shooting through the streets of Belgrade. As they pass through the zoo, the protagonist’s younger brother, a zookeeper, has just got up to feed the animals.
Many Chinese fans commented on Douban that the film was absurd, funny, strange yet familiar and tragic.
“When Father Was Away on Business,” Kusturica’s earlier movie released in 1985, won him the Golden Palm and also a nomination at the Oscars for best foreign language film. In this film, the protagonist’s father is sent to a labor camp by his own brother-in-law for making a remark about a political cartoon, and the mother tells the son that his father is away on a business trip.
The Chinese took to the film as one of its own. On the film’s Douban page, more than half of the reviews and comments mention the “cultural revolution” (1966-76) when people were sent to the countryside to be re-educated.
“The emotion you carry with you and the emotion that is spontaneous and sincere is the weapon of a bizarre story,” he says of Chinese movies.
Kusturica believes the future of art-house films lies ultimately in art-house theaters because they “can’t compete against the increasing commercial garbage.”
It rings a familiar bell for the Chinese. With the focus on all-things box-office, things came to such a head when acclaimed Chinese producer Fang Li uploaded a video in which he literally knelt down and begged cinema managers to screen the film one more Saturday to let the audience to at least have a shot at it.
The film, “Song of the Phoenix,” a work by late director Wu Tianming, was labeled art house even before its release leading to limited distribution options.
Fang’s desperate appeal on video went viral and the film finally made more than 85 million yuan (US$13 million) at the box office.
Kusturica, on his part, has created a platform for art-house films — Kustendorf, or Kusta’s village.
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