Satirists over the years have often made use of a powerful formula, viz. “comedy equals tragedy plus time”. Yugoslavian auteur Emir Kusturica – whose films have come to be associated with a distinctive stylistic signature – too made incredible use of that maxim in his unapologetically and gloriously zany, boisterous, madcap, anarchistic, absurdist and spectacularly over-the-top film Life is a Miracle. And, through this madness, chaos and farce, he created a fabulous anti-war film both satirizing and lamenting on human lunacy, opportunism and apathy that led to a string of unimaginably bloody wars engulfing, in particular, Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, and that, in turn, led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia. It tells the story of Luka (Slavko Stimac), an apolitical engineer who’s shifted from Belgrade to a nameless village with his buxom, mentally unstable, opera-singing wife Jadranka (Vesna Trivalic) and his football-crazed son Milos (Vuk Kostic), in order to build a railway tunnel which he’s so obsessed with that he’s completely oblivious of the impending Bosnian War – and remains so even though his son is conscripted, his wife runs away and the war reaches his doorstep; the realization that the world around him is indeed collapsing, and the ensuing political awakening, finally happens when he starts falling in love with the beautiful and vulnerable Sabaha (Natasa Solak), a Bosnian Muslim entrusted to him as a political hostage. The rollicking tragicomic gem, accompanied by a melancholic score, is populated with surrealistic and darkly humorous set-pieces – a sad and suicidal donkey, a gaggling postman (Aleksandar Berček) hoping to play a game of chess amidst the rampaging hostilities, a free-for-all football match, a night of loony drunken revelry, a hilarious concert to the warmongers, etc.
Director: Emir Kusturical
Genre: Comedy/Black Comedy/Political Satire/War Film/ Romantic Comedy