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Yugoslavia 1995
Directed by
Emir Kusturica
167 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars


As with the director’s marvellous Time Of The Gypsies (1988) this Palme DÓr winner is a film of relentless energy and anarchic excess, but this time Kustarica tackles a more complex text with a larger budget.

Commendably ambitious but somewhat overlong (the third part eliciting a gasp from the exhausted audience I saw the film with although they got off lightly as the original cut was five hours long) as it attempts to portray the history of the former Yugoslavia from the time of WWII under the rule of President Tito and the Communist Party through to the Serbo-Croatian civil war of the 1990s through allegorical form of the Grand Guignol adventures of a couple of rogues, Blacky (Lazar Ristovski) and Marko (Miki Manojlovic).

Underground is a film that will resonate most with those who are familiar at first hand with its historical and social context. Those with only a general knowledge are likely to find the film seeming over-indulgent in parts even whilst acknowledging that it is a work with few peers beyond the director's own oeuvre.




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