Variety is the spice of life, but perhaps not always quite as much as it was last week in Belgrad, when it appeared that local hero Emir Kusturica had been awarded a coveted festival prize a full year ahead of time — and by someone noted for strict adherence to protocol, no less.
The Serb-language newspaper Politica enjoys a reputation on a par with the New York Times or Le Monde, so film-savvy locals were stunned to read in an item credited to Variety — and translated very liberally from the original English — that Cannes fest topper Gilles Jacob had already guaranteed a third Palme D’Or to Kusturica.
Referring to the fact that the director’s “Black Cat, White Cat” had not been ready in time for Cannes, Jacob was quoted in Variety as saying that Kusturica “may well be a three-time Palme D’Or winner, but not this year.” Jacob obviously meant that two-time Palm winner Kusturica, in theory, has what it takes to win a record-busting third Palm, but that the question is moot until he enters another completed film in competition and that year’s jury so decides.
The translation in Politica apparently concluded that Kusturica will receive his third Golden Palm next year.
Kusturica won the Golden Palm in 1985 for “When Father Was Away on Business,” and again in 1995 for “Underground.” He nabbed the best director prize in 1989 for “Time of the Gypsies.”