Black Cat, White Cat (1998)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Farce, Comedy of Errors, Slapstick  |   Release Date - May 14, 1999 (USA)  |   Run Time - 125 min.  |   Countries - Austria , Germany , France , Greece   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Brimming with life and propelled by an almost overwhelming manic energy, Emir Kusturica's unhinged comic fable breathes a welcome and much-needed burst of life back into art house cinema. For those who associate subtitled foreign films with benign and melancholy costume melodrama, Kusturica gleefully provides viewers with a surreal and poignant comic romp, one that has an unmatched love for life even amidst the ever-present inevitability of death. Few films have managed to effectively capture the energy and spectrum of emotion that life can bring, and here, with a rousing sense of passion and zeal, Kusturica does so with unmatched vivacity. A remarkably visual film, the decayed backdrop of Danube provides the perfect setting for a story concerned with lighthearted crime, and is full of audaciously grotesque and quirky characters. Though their actions and behavior often shatter the barriers of believability and realism, they are never questioned by the viewer because within the context they are entirely justified. Confounded viewers who may view Black Cat, White Cat as narrative chaos following its opening scenes will find that, in this case at least, the payoff is well worth it when the characters and situations all come together in one of the most remarkable wedding receptions ever captured on celluloid. With an inspired soundtrack consisting of high-energy Gypsy music, Kusturica has found the perfect auditory compliment to the film's quirky visual energy. While this skillfully maintained energy may prove somewhat exhausting to viewers given the film's slightly extended running time, the end result will undoubtedly leave them walking away with an unmistakable and infectious sense of punch-drunk euphoria.