Emir Kusturica’s Underground shows at CMA tonight



Showing as part of a series of films featuring music by Goran Bregovic, Underground screens at the Cleveland Museum of Art's Lecture Hall tonight at 6. Here's our review of the film.

83fc/1245442093-underground1.jpg Underground (France/Yugoslavia/Germany/Hungary, 1995) A Grand Prize winner at Cannes, Emir Kusturica’s shaggy, surreal tragicomic lament takes 167 minutes to sum up 50 years of Balkans insanity and absurdity, with tones ranging from Rabelaisian vaudeville shtick to horror (the latter especially as the narrative leaps to the modern era of Bosnian genocide). The storyline follows the fates of two friends in the ersatz nation of Yugoslavia, crook Blacky and Communist Party hack Marko, both allied against the Nazis (“fascist motherfuckers!”) in the underground resistance movement, but who come to be romantic rivals for Natalija, an ambitious and fickle Belgrade actress. Marko hides a wounded Blacky (and a small army of partisans, a wedding band and a chimp) in a cellar near the close of WWII and finds it personally and politically expedient to dupe them all into thinking that the war is still going on for years afterwards (nitpickers noted a slight resemblance to the obscure Alec Guinness 1965 dark comedy Situation Hopeless But Not Serious). Meanwhile in the Tito-dominated 1950s and ’60s, the missing Blacky is proclaimed a peoples’ hero and honored Marxist martyr. True, a lot of Kusturica goes a long way, and the effect is sometimes deadening (and you get the sense the Animal Protective League wasn’t present on this set, nosiree). Still, this is one of the most important Eastern European films of the 1990s. *** (Charles Cassady Jr.)

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.