Emir Kusturica's last outing was Underground, an epic fictionalization of 50 years of Balkan war and upheaval. His latest is a fast-moving slapstick comedy set in a Yugoslav village on the Danube where two gypsy families struggle to survive. Each clan is headed by a colorful elder — one runs a garbage dump and the other is a cement works czar. They are friends who haven't seen each other for 25 years.

Thanks to the criminal activities, the get-rich schemes, and the romantic dreams of their offspring, these two gypsies are eventually reunited at an extravagant wedding. The event meant to offer stability in a storm turns out to engender a series of mistaken identities, double crosses, and comic pratfalls. Among the outrageous characters creating such chaos are an inept train robber, a coke-snorting businessman patriot, a lusty barmaid, a vertically challenged woman, and a shy giant.

Kusturica has made an over-the-top comedy that rambles, kicks, and struts its stuff under the propulsion of a rousing soundtrack of gypsy songs and music. Black Cat, White Cat slyly salutes the irrepressible energies of love and friendship in hard times.