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Underground

Overview

An unpredictable black comedy with an epic scope, Emir Kusturica's highly acclaimed Underground takes a look at the modern history of Yugoslavia through the often absurd misadventures of two friends over several decades. The film begins in Belgrade in 1941, establishing the friendship between the gregarious Blacky and the more intellectual Marko during a drunken, late-night musical procession that establishes the riotous tone to follow. Fellow members of the Communist Party, the friends also share an involvement ...
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Overview

An unpredictable black comedy with an epic scope, Emir Kusturica's highly acclaimed Underground takes a look at the modern history of Yugoslavia through the often absurd misadventures of two friends over several decades. The film begins in Belgrade in 1941, establishing the friendship between the gregarious Blacky and the more intellectual Marko during a drunken, late-night musical procession that establishes the riotous tone to follow. Fellow members of the Communist Party, the friends also share an involvement in shady business activities and an attraction for a beautiful actress. Soon, the chaos of World War II forces them to take refuge in an underground shelter with a variety of other townspeople. Years pass and the war ends, but Marko and the actress trick the others into believing that the war is still going on. Kusturica turns this inherently absurd premise into a vibrant portrait of the contradictory, foolish nature of war. Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, the film received great acclaim on the festival circuit but had a hard time securing a release in the United States.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Emir Kusturica's Underground is a rambunctious, hyperbolic epic that has nothing less than the modern history of Yugoslavia as its subject. Divided into three parts, the movie begins with the country's struggle against the Nazis in World War II, segues into its Communist phase during the Cold War, and ends with Yugoslavia's disintegration during the ethnic wars that racked the Balkans in the 1990s. Employing his trademark magic-realist vernacular, Kusturica cobbles together a seemingly jerry-built saga. This blatantly allegorical movie portrays post-WWII Yugoslavia as an incoherent, Bosch-ian mess, pulled apart by deception, debauchery, and authoritarianism. Recalling Fellini at his most extravagant, as well as Volkor Schlondorff's The Tin Drum, Kusturica serves up a gallery of grotesque, outsized characters and a sustained rush of surreal excess. The crazed and cluttered mise-en-scène threatens to burst the frames at the seams, and works as a visual correlative to the moral chaos at the heart of Yugoslavia's collapse. For all its originality and technical brilliance, the movie met with controversy in its initial release in Europe. Some critics read its take on Yugoslav history -- particularly its attribution of the country's collapse to its Communist legacy rather than the aggression of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic -- as an apologia for Serbia, a reading Kusturica heatedly disputed. The controversy, largely ignored in the U.S., led the Bosnian-born filmmaker to announce his retirement, a declaration he broke in less than a year when he went to work on his next film, Black Cat, White Cat.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/23/2003
  • UPC: 717119640347
  • Original Release: 1995
  • Rating:

  • Source: New Yorker Video
  • Time: 2:47:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Miki Manojlovic Marko
Lazar Ristovski Petar Popara (Blacky)
Slavko Stimac Ivan
Bora Todorovic Golub
Srdjan Todorovic Jovan
Mirjana Jokovic Natalija
Mirjana Karanovic Vera
Milena Pavlovic Jelena
Danilo "Bata" Stojkovic Deda
Davor Dujmovic Bata
Branislav Lecic Mustafa
Dragan Nikolic Film Director
Hark Bohm Dr. Strasse
Emir Kusturica Arms dealer
Pierre Spengler Russian Driver
Branko Cvejic Captain
Rick Dano Partisan
Technical Credits
Emir Kusturica Director, Screenwriter
Zoran Andric Asst. Director
Karl Baumgartner Associate Producer
Goran Bregovic Score Composer, Songwriter
Maksa Catovic Co-producer
Branka Ceperac Editor
Aleksandar Denic Set Decoration/Design
Vilko Filac Cinematographer
Dusan Kovacevic Screenwriter
Josef Lojik Makeup
Miroslav Mandic Asst. Director
Marko Rodic Sound/Sound Designer
Pierre Spengler Executive Producer
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