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Goran Paskaljević

Goran Paskaljević is a Serbian director born in april 1947 in Belgrade.
Coincidences made that, in a surprising way, his career has evolved almost in parallel as the one of Emir Kusturica. As a student, he also went to the prestigious cinema school of Prague, the FAMU. Revolted, as Emir Kusturica, by the children traffics by the Gypsies in 1985, he directed a film on this theme (Guardian Angel) two years before Time of the Gypsies. In 1995, Goran Paskaljević tried to show his vision of the USA with Someone else's America, which has a theme close to Arizona Dream.
But it's in 1998 with Bure Baruta (Cabaret Balkan) that the parallel will be the most evident : the casting and the background evoke much the ones of Underground, released three years ago. We see indeed, the four main characters : Miki Manojlović, Lazar Ristovski (Blacky), Mirjana Joković (Natalja), and Mirjana Karanović (Vera) ; as well as Deda (Danilo 'Bata' Stojković), the grand father who turns the clock backward… The similarities don't stop there, since his assistant director was Zoran Andrić, the one of Emir Kusturica for Underground and Black Cat, White Cat. Finally, there is even a scene in which a young couple runs and dances in the streets followed by … a gypsy brass band playing the same traditional tunes as we hear in Underground
At the end, this gives a chorus film slightly inequal, built on a serie of psychological “duels” that mostly end in a bad way (fights, kills, etc.), but yet, the film remains interesting…

Paskaljević's next film, released in 2001, is called How Harry became a tree, for which he clearly took his distance with Kusturica. If his films are much less rich and complex as Emir Kusturica's, they stil deserve to be watched. But be carefull not to offend him by asking him the same question, comparing him to Emir Kusturica… It annoys him quickly ! Read, for example this interview published in 2001 at the time of the release of ”How Harry became a tree” :

I do not have anything against Kusturica, but the end of Someone else's America is firstly an homage to the end of Sica's Miracle in Milan. But there are also levitations in Tarkovski's The Mirror…


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