8:11 PM, 23rd June, 2000
Winner of Venice's Silver Lion for Best Director, Black Cat, White Cat was originally begun as a documentary on gypsy musicians. Kusturica (Underground) grew so fond of the carefree lives of his subjects that he and co-writer Gordon Mihic turned the documentary into a feature film. In a Yugoslav village on the Danube River, two rival families get caught up in the dizzying confusion of slick deals, arranged marriages, and uncertain deaths. Matko Destanov and his dutiful teenage son Zare hustle as best they can in a futile attempt to raise money to pay back the local don, the aged Grga Zarije, after a con deal goes wrong. Zarije is friendly rivals with Matko's father, Grga Pitic, even though the two men haven't seen one another in over 20 years. Neither of the aging dons has any idea of Matko's financial blunder or the extremes he has taken to cover up. Zarije's dope-addicted son, Dadan, in his bid to take over, determines that his sister Sujka will unite his family with what he thinks is the Destanov fortune, by marrying the naive Zare. Sujka resists the plan, dreaming instead of finding true love. Zare, meanwhile, is smitten by the local shopgirl, Ida, whose loving grandmother is trying to sell her in marriage to Dadan. The film is about loyalty and friendship in the midst of spectacular corruption and general squalor, and is filled with humour.
10:26 PM, 23rd June, 2000
In Belgrade, just before the 1995 Dayton Peace Accord, the paths of twenty people cross during the course of one night. The night begins with a simple traffic accident that escalates in an unexpectedly vicious fashion (a bit like how a war starts in the Balkans). The characters include a bitter, chain-smoking cab driver; a teenager rebelling against his uncomprehending parents; an unemployed man forced to drive a bus to eke out an existence and who's bus is abruptly hijacked; a young woman passenger on the same bus whose evening drifts from bad to worse; and a young woman who is menaced on a train. Cabaret Balkan is an incendiary tale full of harrowing images, seething with frustration and rage, yet with elements of hopefulness and humour, about the degradation of a country suffering from eight years of bitter internal strife. Adapted by director Goran Paskaljevic and Dejan Dukovski from the latter's play, the film compresses the play's rambling wartime setting into one night in post-war Belgrade.