Underground (1995)

Also known as Once Upon a Time there was a Country, this artsy and comedic biopic of the 20th Century life of Yugoslavia touches on both the pathos of its history and the resilience of the population.

Two scheming brothers in Belgrade end up fighting German invaders when the Nazis attack in the early 1940's. Leading them is the fearless and legendary Tito (shown in archive footage between eras) and surrounding them are people from every ethnic group in Yugoslavia who have joined together for a common cause. One brother is badly injured and is kept in a bomb shelter with other resistance fighters where they produce weapons while the other brother profits from their work long after the war is over as their only point of contact on the outside.

The film becomes much more surreal and it crosses path with a film crew producing an epic battle (which was in reality more humourous than heroic) before entering into the early 1990's when the two brothers end up on opposite sides of the civil war.

Rather than rendering a clear synopsis of Yugoslavia, Underground speaks of humanity and inhumanity between brothers. The film deserves the accolades it received.


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