On November 24, 1954, in the city of Sarajevo, the capital of the then Yugoslav Union Republic of Bosnia-and-Herzegovina, in a Muslim family, a boy was born, who was given the Muslim name Emir. His father, Murat Kusturica, as Emir later wrote in his autobiography, "as many millions of other Yugoslavs, had renounced to his faith to become a communist. Emir, only son, denounced the communism to become… filmmaker."
Already at the age of 30, Emir Kusturica received from the then world cinema master, Milos Forman, with whom, incidentally, they studied directing at the same film school (FAMU) at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, a characterization as "the hopes of European and world cinema."
Today, many enthusiastic publications in the Russian media are devoted to Emir Kusturica - for example, a critical analysis of his biography and work, made by the outstanding Russian film critic Andrei Plakhov.
But in the Soviet Union, the work of Kusturica was declared anti-socialist, anti-Soviet, and was almost banned. In fact, if there was something “anti” in the work of the young Kusturica, it was clearly pronounced anti-Nazism in his early works.
Being in touch with Hollywood during the work in some films, Kusturica speaks now about this "dream factory": "What you have now is a Hollywood that is pure poison. Hollywood was a central place in the history of art in the 20th century: it was human idealism preserved. And then, like any great place, it collapsed, and it collapsed into the most awful machinery in the world.....I do not want to work for some faceless gentleman named Nobody, he is deprived of human feelings, he is sterile, he not only has no emotions, but he does not even smell anything. This is some kind of horror. I hate Hollywood of Bruce Willis, Kevin Costner, they are also nobody, they are the same and work the same for this sterile gentleman. It is harmful to the environment, it is worse than any radiation."
In his films, even those of which show war, Kusturica is demonstratively apolitical. Apolitical in the sense that he does not accept any of the warring parties. Pacifism can be considered his political conviction, but pacifism not cowardly and spineless, but effective. That is, he condemns all those who “generate” wars and benefit from them, no matter what ideology and religion these scum adhere to.
Born into an officially Muslim, but not very religious family, he converted to Orthodoxy at the age of 50 and changed his Muslim name to Orthodox - Nemanja. Later, he explained this act as follows: "we were Muslim for 250 years, but we were orthodox before that and deep down we were always Serbs, religion cannot change that. We only became Muslims to survive the Turks."
However, despite his demonstrative apoliticality, Emir Kusturica, unlike many of his European and American colleagues, was able to discern purely Bolshevik methods, when "the end justifies the means", in the so-called “revolution of dignity” carried out in Kiev in 2014, and clearly stated that the change of power in Ukraine was a consequence of: "a certain conspiracy that brought killers to the Maidan, killing their own activists and police officers." For this insight, Kusturica was awarded a ban on entry to Ukraine.
Having lived for decades in Western countries, Kusturica made the following conclusion: "In Serbia a lot of people hate me because they want to westernise, not understanding that the western world is bipolar, with very good things and very bad things. Since they don't have experience of the west, they even believe that western shit is pie."
During the period of his cinematic work, Emir Kusturica independently shot 8 full-length feature films, plus segments for two movie almanacs. In total, Kusturica currently holds 35 film awards, including the very prestigious highest awards of the Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Moscow, Warsaw international film festivals.
How many different definitions this man got for his life! "Gypsy Fellini", an unshaven rebel, a soldier of love, rock musician, film director, film actor, builder, cosmopolitan, anti-capitalist, anti-globalist, anarchist... French citizen, who still considers himself a Yugoslav. Friend of Nikita Mikhalkov, Johnny Depp and Diego Maradona. Just not a man, but the whole universe!
Of the total number of feature films made by Kusturica or with his participation, 6 films were included in the Golden Thousand. Taking into account the merits of Emir Kusturica for the world cinema, he is included in the list of 100 greatest filmmakers of the XX-XXI centuries, compiled by FilmGourmand.