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Underground (1997)

Hark Bohm , Davor Dujmovic , Emir Kusturica  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Hark Bohm, Davor Dujmovic, Mirjana Jokovic, Erol Kadic, Dr. Nele Karajlic
  • Directors: Emir Kusturica
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: New Yorker Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 23, 2003
  • Run Time: 167 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000DIJPT
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,722 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Underground" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Interview with Director Emir Kustrica
  • French trailer

Editorial Reviews

This sprawling, exhausting, deeply moving Palme d'Or winner represents the pinnacle of Serbian director Emir Kusturica's considerable abilities, and what is easily one of the best cinematic achievements of the 1990s. It encapsulates 50 turbulent years of Yugoslavian history, from the outbreak of World War II in the 1940s to the destruction of this once-great nation in the 1990s. \n When we first meet Marko (Miki Manojlovic) and Blacky (Lazar Ristovski), it's hard to take these jokers seriously. All they want to do is party their lives away. But the Nazi shelling of Belgrade changes everything, and the resourceful duo comes up with an ingenious plan--one will stay aboveground while the other goes underground. The arrangement represents an ideal opportunity for all concerned: Blacky, his wife, and the rest of their friends and neighbors will be protected from the chaos going on above, while Marko and the lovely Natalija (Mira Sorvino look-alike Mirjana Jokovic) will sell the weapons they're making down below. Everyone will share in the profits. \n But Marko commits the ultimate act of betrayal--against Blacky and the rest of his subterranean comrades. This sort of deception can only lead to tragedy, and Kusturica doesn't spare us the details. In fact, it's his eye for detail that makes "Underground" such a memorable experience--the perfect note his cast strikes between the extremes of physical comedy, passionate romance, and mortal pain, the insidiously infectious brass-heavy score and the strikingly colorful images. \n "Underground" is basically a parable, and doesn't always adhere to the laws of physics. It isn't for the literal-minded, the impatient, or the partisan. It's loud, it's long, and it isn't for the easily offended. It may just also be one of the saddest movies ever made and stands as a fitting tribute to a country that exists only in the hearts and minds of its former residents. "--Kathleen C. Fennessy"

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wild, extravagant fable Yugoslavia's history April 29, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
As with Kusturica's "Black Cat, White Cat," it's almost impossible to summarize the plot of this film. Suffice it to say that the film is a quasi-realistic fable of perhaps 50 years in the history of Yugoslavia, beginning during WWII. It has everything - love, betrayal, greed, tragedy, comedy - even a touch of magic now and then.

I love the pure extravagance of this film. A tiger, trapped in ruins, reaches for the head of a defiant swan. An elephant steals a pair of shoes from an open, 2nd story window. A young woman flies through the air to her waiting groom - attached or not to a battering ram? Blacky, an electrician, has seemingly infinite resistance (pun intended) to torture by electrical shock - not to mention that he sleeps with his eyes wide open and charges on-stage while his lover is performing, ties her on his back, and carries her away.

And all this is done at the pace of the Marx Brothers on speed and with NO reliance on computer-generated graphics. It's all from the creative brains of the writer/director/cinematographer team. Forget realism - just take a ride on the back of this film and try to catch your breath!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to go with the rest of your movie collection! February 18, 2005
Format:DVD
If you have a DVD shelf do not group this movie with the rest of your collection. It deserves a throne, a piedestal to sit on all by itself, above everything else that has ever flickered over the silver screen. This movie is not seen, it is lived, expirienced, read like a book. The metaphors and similies in this movie equal any in any poem or a novel. Raw, inspired, dark, and bitter, it will twist your guts into a knot, which is precisly what the 50-odd years of history of the region it symbolizes does (Ex-Yugoslavia '41-'95) It is amazing how this movie manages to offer images and idealogy to represent the social changes in the society as well as mental changes in the people of the region.

On the next level, cinematography, acting, directing are all unrivaled, if at times overemphasized and overdone (but that's Kusturica for you)
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The movie explains why Yugoslavia fell apart April 30, 2005
Format:DVD
If you ever wondered why all those wars in Yugoslavia broke out, don't watch documentary films about it, watch this movie. I am originaly from Yugoslavia, and I know how horrible that war was. And why did it brake out? Why did Serbs kill Croats, Croats kill Serbs,...? Why did brothers kill brothers when they all lived together under Tito only 10 years ago? Is Milosevic to blame? No, if the people didn't want to kill each other, they wouldn't have elected him. To find out the reason why it happened, we have to analyze WWII in Yugoslavia a little better. Thats exactly what this movie does. Even if you're not Yugoslavian, you will feel sad at the end of the movie. Yugoslavs are not crazy, war-loving animals, we are just hungry for party's, tuba music and just having fun. After seeing this movie, you will have a new understanding for the Balkans conflict and probably will be very mad when you hear someone say "Yugoslavia fell apart because those Slavs are nuts". I think that Emir Kusturica is a genius, and you will understand why when you see this movie.

Boris, from Vancouver (originaly from SUBOTICA, YU)
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An original masterpiece December 18, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
This film is filled with so much energy and joy that no audience can come out of it unmoved. This film has so many layers of story, that not one person will have the same impulses after seeing this picture. And isn't that what counts: to see a picture that makes you think what you just saw instead of just going mindless out of the cinema?
The story is perfect mix of tragedy, comedy, romance,hate. Everything we incapsulate in what we call a life. Underneith it tells the story of heroes,glorification of heroes, war criminals. It's not often i get swept away by a film but this film really managed to capture what the film medium can do. A mix of bitter sweet story, that changes emotions and attitude throughout the film
As original as two Coen brothers films combined and as moving as anything you will ever see........ Perhaps the best film of this decade... Seldom do you learn so much about the times you are living in as in this film. It's a must see for anyone who consider themselves even a bit interested in films. Masterpieces like this are so hard to come by that no one can afford to miss it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Funny how film reviews are so easily transformed into political battlegrounds...or is it tragic? The anonymous reviewer from California is not alone in his or her one-star grading. The New Yorker had also ruthlessly criticized the political implications of the film in its 1995 review of Underground, which is not surprising, given the anti-Serbian sentiments of the US since the early nineties (which have multiplied as a result of the long-ignored ethnic cleansing of ethnic Albanians taking place in Kosovo as we speak), but also the inability of many Americans to comprehend the complex history of Yugoslavia, both pre- and post-Tito. No matter how 'well-informed' one claims to be, and no matter if one's political opinions are valid, one simply cannot obliterate the value of a film for its political background. But all this talk about politics obscures what this film is really about. Underground is not a political film. It is utterly clear to one who sees the it for what it is, and not for what some would like to interpret it as, that this is the expression of the director's personal anguish that the fall of Yugoslavia brought upon his life. So I ask you, who is anonymous-California-person or any Mr/Ms USA who feels that they have the authority or the 'well-informedness' to silence, or even worse, to invalidate the voice of a man who feels he has something to mourn. Many Americans can go about their lives without ever having to face any political reality whatsoever (or have you forgotten that most Americans don't even vote?) let alone being told by some guy in a blue hat that yesterday you had a country and now you don't. The situation of Yugoslavia is a tragedy all around, and this film expresses with sincerity the universality of its horrors. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Over-the-top Underground
This is a classic. The music is magnificent, the acting is amazing and the story is totally mind-blowing. We laughed and cried the whole way through.
Published 10 months ago by Maria
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the last 10 years of Oscar's best picture films combined
Just watch it Judy. Makes you wonder how masterpieces like this get swept under the rug. Almost three hours feels like nothing. So easy to watch.
Published 12 months ago by Sayer Kanakriyeh
5.0 out of 5 stars unexpectedly hilarious
You wouldn't think Bosnia could be funny but this is hysterical. If you like dark humor get it (if you can find it).
Published 16 months ago by J
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent quality
Finally Underground is available on DVD, thanks to the Koreans. Who would have thought? You need to set up the subtitles in English, but other than that there were no issues. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Rick King
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece
Kusturica's hilarious and poignant masterpiece recounts the recent tragic history of Yugoslavia in vivid detail. It's a provocative take on a little understood part of the world.
Published 21 months ago by Boca Babe
5.0 out of 5 stars kusterica classic
this is an amazing movie which covers several decades. the main characters, marko and blacky, are outrageous with their drunken adventures full of sex, fighting, and deceit. Read more
Published on March 3, 2011 by Scott T. Gaal
5.0 out of 5 stars Best movie ever made
I am from Belgrade Yugoslavia, so this movie has special impact on me. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who wants to find out more about history of this great country of... Read more
Published on March 21, 2009 by Emmanuel College Inc Toney
5.0 out of 5 stars my favorite movie
If you can read a text on a symbolic level this movie will teach you the history of Yugoslavia.

It is unbelievably beautiful. And Sad. Read more
Published on January 6, 2009 by seth ludman
4.0 out of 5 stars Underground
Great humorous take on the history of Yugoslavia. Hilarious lead characters Marko and Blackie.
Published on June 23, 2008 by S. Barrett
2.0 out of 5 stars huh?
More is more, eh? Seriously, I'm very open-minded, but the constant circus-like atmosphere just got on my nerves. Kinda reminded me of "Delicatessan" which I also hated. Read more
Published on March 18, 2008 by John L. Fuller
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