During the pandemic, traveling and the feeling of freedom might seem quite distant. If in real life we cannot, in thought let’s travel to a special world for a few minutes: to the village of Emir Kusturica.
In the western part of Serbia lies a mountain village surrounded by wonderful natural features, which is interesting not only because of its surroundings, but it is also a rarity in itself. The name of the town is Drvengrad, which means wooden town if translated exactly. The name perfectly describes that not only all the houses in the village are made of wood, but everything that is possible. The place is also called Küstendorf and Mećavnik, but everyone is reminded of one person: Emir Kusturica, one of the most prominent Serbian filmmakers.
Kusturica built this tiny village as the setting for the movie “Life is a Miracle” in order to create the most authentic environment for his movie, which is why you can feel the unmistakable Kusturica lifestyle in the whole town, which is permeated by Balkan romance. The characteristic cabins placed on streets named after world-famous stars are even more interesting with their colorful patterns. We can walk along Novak Djokovic street, drink a coffee at the corner of Ingmar Bergman street and Diego Maradona street: the filmmaker named the tiny streets after people he admires. Their uniqueness is further enhanced by Eastern European classic cars parking along the roads.
Emir Kusturica is a returning visitor to the ethno village even after filming, which has become a permanent meeting place for young filmmakers. The Küstendorf Film and Music Festival, an international film meeting that also hosts foreign talents, is held here every year. The festival is usually held after the Orthodox New Year and stays away from all the luxuries that are a characteristic of film festivals: there is no extravagance, only reality and talent.
The ethno village is becoming more and more popular among tourists due to the success of the festival and the movie. Not by accident as, in addition to the movie theater, there is also an entertainment district with an underground basketball court and a wellness center. Instead of the usual bottled soft drinks, the restaurant only serves local syrups and alcoholic beverages to boost interest in local gastronomy.