Synopsis by Mark Deming
Shutka is a small Balkan village which boasts one of the largest Romani populations in the world (the Romanis are better known as Gypsies in most of the world), and filmmaker Aleksandar Manic offers a lighthearted look at the town's often eccentric residents in this documentary. Seemingly everyone in Shutka has some special (if arcane) talent, and nearly all of them enjoy demonstrating their mastery in neighborhood contests, several of which are captured on film. Among the Shutka-ites interviewed onscreen by the fictive Dr. Koljo (Bajram Severdzan) are a vampire slayer who declares that fire, not a wooden spike, is the best tool to kill a bloodsucker; a haberdasher who has fathered no fewer than 75 children and named his wife after the star of a popular soap opera; a self-styled linguist compiling a dictionary; and a genuine whirling dervish. Also screened as Happy Valley, The Shutka Book of Records received its North American premiere at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.