Event opens with mock funeral for Bruce Willis

Maverick Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica has created his own typically idiosyncratic counterpoint to the commercial film fest grind. And he didn’t mind breaking a few eggs to make his point.

Four hours from Belgrade, Kusturica has re-created an old Serbian country town, applied his own touches and called it Mechavnik. With a library, church, restaurants, swimming pool and the two most advanced cinemas in Serbia — one buried nearly 40 feet deep into the mountainside — it is a unique island of cinematic culture.

The inaugural Kustendorf Festival of Film and Music, which ran Jan. 14-21, featured no red carpets, champagne or corporate logos, and the invitation-only event was dedicated to film students because, says Kusturica, they are “untainted by the idiocy of contemporary commercial cinema.”

To drive the point home Kusturica opened the event by holding a mock funeral for Bruce Willis actioner “Die Hard 4,” complete with a priest, mourners and wooden coffin.

New life was symbolically born at the closing when the three winning filmmakers were presented with real eggs painted gold, silver and bronze.

Alas, Martin Hempton, a British documaker who took the silver egg for his film “Possessed,” says the stunt was not all it was cracked up to be: “The egg fell apart in transit, causing me to break it in Belgrade airport,” he says.

“It looks all right now, but next time I think they should make ‘em from plastic.”

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