In a Macedonian village, family patriarch Taip (Miki Manojlovic) becomes friends with UN peacekeeper Riju and introduces him to his life of squalor, hoping he might marry his daughter and forming the solution to his troubles. When Taip’s mother dies, he collects government money for the funeral – but then she comes back to life.
So Taip comes up with a unique moneymaking scheme: he fakes the deaths of his family members to collect funeral money from the city.
This 1997 Macedonian film about a Gypsy family in the war-torn Balkans draws most of its power from a narrative that shifts abruptly from bloody fighting to black comedy, mimicking a culture defined by turmoil. Its jagged rhythms and unpredictable twists effectively capture the dislocations of gypsy life, with the haphazard arrangement of people and objects and the intercutting of drinking at a party exemplifying the way director Stole Popov visualizes chaos. It was Macedonia’s submission to the 70th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, but alas, it was not accepted as a nominee.
This screening is part of our Kriterion Zomeravond (Kriterion summer evening) 90’s Yugo Comedy Night. The other screening in this programme includes Emir Kusturica’s Serbian comedy Black Cat, White Cat.