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Do You Remember Dolly Bell? - DVD review (4 stars)

Do You Remember Dolly Bell?

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(15) 105min (Artificial Eye DVD retail)

COMEDY/ROMANCE

Emir Kusturica usually works a combination of nostalgia and rumbustiousness, but often the former loses out to the latter and many of his films (like Underground, Black Cat, White Cat) end up like crazy multiple circus acts. Which is why, if you have reservations about Kusturica’s style, and don’t know his early work, check out this longingly lovely first feature, which offers a sense of reserve missing from his later works. Made in 1981 and set in Sarajevo, the film follows the growing pains of the teenage Dino as he looks for life experiences to match those he watches on the silver screen. As Kusturica biographer Goran Gocic claims, ‘the characters are defined mostly by their dreams.’ But there is plenty of harsh reality here too, as the young woman Dino falls for learns a few harsh lessons courtesy of a pimp, and, in this tough rite of passage, Dino (Slacko Stimac) grows up with a full awareness of tough love. A rare, unsentimentally warm film. Extras include a rare Kusturica interview.

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