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U.S. Theatrical Premiere
THE SHUTKA BOOK OF RECORDS
"As whimsical and subjective as nonfiction gets" -Village Voice
"A mischievous film" -Time Out Chicago
Recommended! "[Aleksandar] Manic taps into the Roma zest for living large; if an award were given for most eccentrics per frame, this would win hands down" -Chicago Reader
In the Balkan town of Shutka, the Romani (Gypsy) population is thriving and everyone is considered a champion at something, be it boxing or grave robbing. Aleksander Manic's documentary The Shutka Book of Records gives us a walking tour of this vibrant community, and along the way, we meet some of the colorful "champions." Although the Romani may not have an official national identity, this self-assured and playful documentary demonstrates that they nevertheless have a rich cultural one. Whimsically narrated by one of Shutka's local heroes, the film introduces us to the local inhabitants, like Uncle Sulgo, an avuncular champion vampire hunter who paces around town in a black Adidas tracksuit and is quick to dismiss popular vampire stereotypes. As he explains: vampires, which are highly feared in the town, are not of human flesh; rather, they are spirits whose great weakness is fire. We also meet Uncle Veso, champion love maker and clothing merchant, who has just fathered a child at the age of 75. The boisterous Veso has renamed the mother of his child after the South American television soap opera Kassandra, which the entire town of Shutka watches every week. Although the Roma are not impervious to the influence of Western entertainment, it certainly does not dominate their culture. Their rich musical history is still alive and as the narrator tells us, "When a child is born in Roma, it cries in melody." Adults are liable to do the same after meeting all the strange and endearing characters in The Shutka Book of Records. (Tribeca Film Festival)
Directed by Aleksandar Manic, Czech Republic, 2005, BetaSP, 78 mins. In Macedonian with English subtitles.