"Underground - like a thunderstorm", interview in French magazine Le Point #1205, 21 October 1995

A powerful brass band welcomes the audience at the very first image of Underground. Intoxicating, it follows us until the very last shot. This gypsy music is at the same time the essence and the clue of the kusturician opera, this apocalyptic vision. It gives to Emir Kusturica's film it vital energy, its organic pulse, almost sexual, comparable to the blood that runs in the Balkans at agony.

Spring 1941. Two friends, Marky and Blako, do small business in the nights of Belgrade, taking their ritual drunkery the day before the first German bombs are falling on the city. Before the men, we'll first see the zoo's monkeys dying. Everything is said in this astonishing prologue full of alcohol, fire and blood. Pleasure and pain, laugh and horror, the last tango in Belgrade falls like a thunderstorm on the screen. The virtuosity of the mise en scène is only equalled by its rigour. Nothing free, nothing indulgent in this stage of fifty years of History, where we follow the adventures of an incredible trio. Two men with their common mistress, a little actress that will soon go with the Nazi, dance together into a universe of craziness. It's the farce and the tragedy together that better tell the derision of History.

Marko doesn't hesitate much long before putting Blacky into the cave of the city. The trick will last much after 1945, all along the Titism, of which Marko becomes an honoured apparatchik, still continuing to simulate the war with noises and old news reports for those below. And then, one day, a monkey destroys with a canon the wall of the lies, opening to the prisoners the doors of a world that some - born under the ground - discover for the first time… Is it the moon or the sun, that lightning star that rises on the river ?

Kusturica's poetry is tender and brutal, nostalgic and painful. ”Lying or dying, you must choose”, said Céline. Underground shows an alternative, death at the entrance and the exit of the tunnel, and the lies to stay inside. But the energy of his hallucinated film is so powerful that you don't even get out broken. The famous gypsy trumpets (music is still est signed Goran Bregović) let believe to better tomorrows, like those children smiles that Fellini put on the beaches to say the worst wasn't ineluctable… Filmed between Prague, Belgrade, Berlin and Bucharest, Underground is a sublime funeral song shot by a man that sill believes in men. You can't miss it.

Translation by Matthieu Dhennin