Underground is the condensed version of a 5-hour series (originally broadcast on Serbian television in the 90′s) which takes place in Yugoslavia, showing the country from the beginning of WWII through the Yugoslav Wars. This theatrical version, directed by Emir Kusturica, considered one of the master filmmakers of our time, utilises symbolic elements that require a strong knowledge of story to fully understand, and ends with a memorable finale, with the characters dancing on a floating island that separates them from the continent. This is an extraordinary film that we invite you to enjoy and comment on.
Original title: Underground Year: 1995 Runtime: 167 min. Country: France, Germany, Hungary, FR Yugoslavia, Bulgaria Director: Emir Kusturica Writer: Dušan Kovačević, Emir Kusturica Soundtrack: Goran Bregović Cast: Miki Manojlović, Lazar Ristovski, Mirjana Joković, Slavko Štimac
The film opens in Belgrade, the capital of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, in the early morning hours of Sunday, 6 April 1941, as two roguish bon vivants Petar Popara, nicknamed Crni (Blacky), and Marko Dren are heading home following a night of hard drinking and partying out on the town. Riding atop a horse carriage while tailed and serenaded by a brass orchestra, they’re drunkenly singing and shooting their way through the city’s downtown. They pass through Kalemegdan and shout salutes to Marko’s brother Ivan, who’s an animal keeper in the city’s zoo. A stutterer with a lame leg, Ivan is already up to feed the animals and waves to them warmly as he listens to early morning radio bulletins.
As the drunk duo pulls up in front of Blacky’s home, his pregnant wife Vera comes out to angrily usher her husband into the house while naggingly threatening to leave him “just like Marko’s wife left Marko”. Intoxicated Marko pulls Vera aside and lets her know that they enrolled Blacky in the Communist Party (KPJ), but she’s way too angry about Blacky’s irresponsible behaviour as a husband to even properly process that piece of information. After saying their drunken goodbyes for the night, Blacky goes into the house while Marko goes on to pick up a street prostitute, before disappearing into his house with her.
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