Retrospective of Greatness


USA | 1993

Emir Kusturica


Emir Kusturica

David Atkins (screenplay and story), 
Emir Kusturica

Director of photography:
Vilko Filač

Film Editing:
Andrija Zafranović

Claudie Ossard,
Yves Marmion

Production Company:
Canal Plus

Johnny Depp,
Jerry Lewis,
Faye Dunaway,
Lili Taylor,
Vincent Galo



An Eskimo catches a rare halibut and then takes it back to his family igloo. This fish is a recurring motif in the film, both in real and dream-like form. Meanwhile in New York, Axel tags fish in a local Fish and Game Department. His cousin Paul arrives to take him to Arizona for his uncle’s wedding. Once in Arizona, the uncle tries to persuade Axel to stay permanently and take over the family business of selling used Cadillacs. Axel also meets two strange women: Elaine, who has always dreamed of building a flying machine, and her stepdaughter Grace, who dreams of suicide and subsequent reincarnation as a turtle. Axel falls in love with Elaine and decides to help her to make her dreams come true.


Director's Biography

Emir Kusturica

Emir Kusturica is a Serbian director, musician, actor, producer, writer and architect, born in Sarajevo in 1954. He received a degree in film directing at FAMU in Prague. After his studies, he directed for TV and won several awards. His first feature, Do You Remember Dolly Bell? (1981), won a Best First Work Award in Venice. When Father Was Away on Business (1985), his second feature won a Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Time of the Gypsies (1988) brought Kusturica the award for Best Director at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, while Arizona Dream brought him a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1993. Kusturica’s Underground (1995) won a Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and he got a Silver Lion for his Black Cat, White Cat (1998) at the Venice Film Festival. His documentary Super 8 Stories (2000) won the Best Film award at the St. Petersburg Documentary Festival in 2001. After this achievement, he directed Life is a Miracle in 2004 and Promise Me This in 2007, which had its premiere screening at the Cannes Film Festival. After Promise Me This, Kusturica directed Maradona by Kusturica – a documentary about the football legend Diego Armando Maradona.

Time of the Gypsies, his punk-opera that was based on the themes of the movie, was first staged in the Opera Bastille in Paris in 2007. In the same year, he was admitted to the Ordre des Artes et des Lettres – the highest level of recognition for culture in France – while in 2011 he received the insignia of Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.

Emir Kusturica is the founder and a member of the Emir Kusturica & the No Smoking Orchestra which performs around the world.

He is currently filming On the milky road, for which he also wrote a script and in which he plays a principal role.