A controversial Palme D’Or winner in 1995, this sprawling, allegorical epic from Bosnian-born director Emir Kusturica spans some five decades in the turbulent 20th-century history of the former Yugoslavia. Beginning with the fairytale-style intro “Once upon a time there was a country”, it follows the contrasting fortunes of two criminal, commie buddies Blacky (Lazar Ristovski) and Marko (Miki Manojlovic), who shelter in the same giant underground cellar while fighting the Germans in World War Two. Kusturica throws everything into the mix – insertion of his actors into historical footage, newsreel clips, a cavalcade of chaotic set-pieces, a propagandist film-within-a-film – to illustrate his idea that the Yugoslav people were deceived by their rulers.  Whether you’ll share the filmmaker’s indulgence of his larger-than-life characters is questionable, but the Fellini-esque wedding feast on a floating island makes for a memorable closing sequence. The extras are negligible. 


Film Details

  • 15
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: October 23rd 2006

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