Thursday, May 13, 2010

UNDERGROUND (Serbian/Croatian) (1995)

Satiric, farcical, absurd, outrageously funny and almost excess on everything; ‘Underground’ is cinematic hyperbole about Yugoslavia from past to present in three parts, begins with Second World War and ends with post communist present. We meet two lunatic communist comrades Marko and Blacky as messengers of chaos in war stricken Belgrade in the first part. They were drinking, looting trains, banks to support the party and took shelter with other comrades in an underground cellar. The second part shows us Marko’s crooked version of history in the cold war era. He married with his Blacky’s actress girlfriend declaring him a martyr in the public eye. He’s filming a tribute film for great martyr Blacky out there. On the other hand poor Blacky and the bunch of comrades even after two decades of time are still alive under the cellar of Marko’s own house believing that outside the fascists of Second World War are still in power.

The world is going upside down but the euphoria continues until a chimp fired a tank accidentally and next we see letting loose canons Blacky and his young son Jovan encountering the external world after a period encountering a film shooting. Well, Jovan is another addition to laughter package who was born and brought up in underworld hasn’t seen the sun, the moon or anything that belongs to external world showing his natural curiosity. Even in the third part the war is still on, now between Croats and Serbs. It’s Yugoslavia of 1992 and Marko is still alive baking his bread on warfare and Blacky became revolutionary. This the bleakest part where all fun stops suddenly making us realize the horror of war on one country.

Director Emir Kusturica certainly deserves honor for making such a brilliant political satire on communism and ill fate of country’s history. Sarcasm and laughter go hand in hand here and mad hilarious riot flows throughout the film. Black comedy never achieved such a height! It’s revealing to know that the Director’s cut was 320 minutes long but to cater larger audience it was edited with 167 minutes. Watching it for first hour and enjoying every bit of it, I keep asking myself why the hell such a madcap political satire won Palm d’or at Cannes. But it’s the ending part which changes the gear, making it less outrageous and more serious & concerning fact file of once upon a time there was a country!!!

An underrated nugget of black humor.


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