FT Top 100 Films

Initial memories? You can’t really get past the the perfection of the farce which destroys the toilet, dumping the auld fella in the shit. But if you want to, then you can also marvel at a film where a pig eats a car, everything is second hand and the gangsters are the most ludicrous organisation you’ll set your eyes on. So what kind of film is Black Cat White Cat? Its a Yugoslavian comedy. Or at least a former Yugoslavian comedy, where much of the bitterness and violence of the 1990’s in that region is turned into total farce.
A lucid dream of a film, it always stays on the right side of reality to convince you that yes, that girl did just pull out a nail with her sphincter. The mess, the squalor, the ingenuity of the lead character – and his equal temptation by greed sets up a nice redemptive plot. But there is no side road or distraction that this film won’t take to get a laugh. Much of its set-up comes from physical humour reminiscent of silent films (perhaps why it travels so well). But it does go to show that the appelation gross-out means nothing when it comes to a works artistic value. Under the fart gags is a serious plea for tolerance.
Oh, and the love scenes. The look of love is captured perfectly in the scene set in the sunflower field. Sensuous, sweet and unsurprisingly funny. A film about community, a film about the ridiculousness of the dark side of human nature – it also culminates in one of the best wedding scenes I have ever seen. Start with the gypsy tradition, move on to the horror of the wrong people marrying, go via impending farce and end up dumping someone in a pit of shit. Which he later wipes off with a duck. Which does wonders for your long term memory.

Tom says:

Black Cat White Cat has one of the most perfect soundtrack moments I can remember. The grotesque Balkan gangster is sitting in a car with his floozies, doing coke and getting pumped up. On the stereo a ghastly, brash Euro-techno tune, “Pitbull Terrier”. The guy sings along, pushing his medallion-man chest out at the camera – “I am a PITBULL!” “Terrier!” simper the backing vox. Every time I read about Eastern European crime now it’s that scene I think of: shiny, crass, flooded with new money, ridiculous but frightening. Where on earth did the director find such an awful but perfect song? Simple – he wrote it himself.