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THE SITUATION OF EUROPEAN AND WORLD CINEMA IN THE CURRENT CONTEXT *
"European cinema has great potential for directors and filmmakers to safeguard and enhance. Both for its long tradition and for the emerging young people who begin their artistic career. But there is a 'but' (…) “This is often sacrificed by logics of market that has more and more to do with products than with the emotions that the beauty and art of cinema must arouse in human beings. And certainly the signs we see are not positive." - Emir Kusturica
Filmmaker, screenwriter, actor and musician, born in Sarajevo, Emir Kusturica is the author of a unique filmography, marked by an intense magical realism, celebrating life and cinema, haunted, since the 1990s, by the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia and by the Balkan War.
After studying in Prague at the famous FAMU, the Czech state film school, Kusturica directs two feature films that give him immediate notoriety and recognition: Do you remember Dolly Bell? (evocation of Yugoslavia in the 1960s, Silver Lion for a first work at the Venice Film Festival, in 1981) and O Pai Was on a Business Trip (Palma d'Or in Cannes in 1985).
The Time of the Gypsies (1988, his first blockbuster) and Arizona Dream (1993, made in the United States, a tragicomic deconstruction of the American dream, with Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway and Jerry Lewis) open themselves definitively to passionate exuberance of his obsessive vision of cinema and the world, heirs to those of a Fellini.
Kusturica's universe, populated by a culturally complex gallery of underprivileged, bizarre or marginal characters (of different ethnicities, religions and nationalities) and a myriad of animals invading the action, draws on the duality of reality and fantasy (often, the stories told are true and light the fuse of the movies' imagination), to which the oneirism of levitation, the sensuality of desires, the operatic intensity and the euphoria of the music confer an unparalleled audacity and energy.
Underground (his most famous film, with the suggestive subtitle “Once upon a time a Country”), a parable of Yugoslav history, collects a second Palme d'Or in Cannes, in 1995. Gato Preto, Gato Branco (1998, with composed music, for the first time, by the No Smoking Orchestra, the garage rock band with punk and folk influences, founded in 1981, which Kusturica joined in 1986 and who would since then sign the soundtrack of his films), receives the Silver Lion for Best Achievement at the Venice Film Festival.
In 2001, he made Super 8 Stories, a documentary about the No Smoking Orchestra, and in 2004, A Vida É um Milagre, which won the César 2005 for best film in the European Union. After another fiction film, Promise Me This (2007), Maradona launched in 2008 a documentary about the history of the famous Argentine football player.
On The Milky Road (2016), his latest film, premiered at the Venice Film Festival, his first feature in nine years, joins Kusturica himself, in the main male role, Monica Bellucci, in a peculiar (and real) love story , with the memory of the Balkan War still in the background. In 2020, he made the documentary EL PEPE, A SUPREME LIFE, about José Mujica, president of Uruguay from 2010 to 2015, a guerrilla, political prisoner and who had an intense career. Described by many as the most humble head of state in the world, Mujica donated a large percentage of his salary to charity and his love of life and nature is at the heart of his political ideology. Through her trajectory, a narrative about love, militancy, sustainability and empathy is built.
Kustica is one of only 8 directors to have received the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival twice. The others are Francis Ford Coppola, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Michael Haneke, Alf Sjoberg, Shohei Imamura and Bille August.
The edition commemorating the twentieth anniversary of FIKE, is honored to be able to count on this renowned filmmaker who will hold a Masterclass about cinema in these troubled times in which we live.
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