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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by Emir Kusturica
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1995

 

A great circus full of tragicomic satire, UNDERGROUND is a visionary masterpiece where hope, laughter and the joy of living overcome the difficulties of survival. In the midst of war, Marko and Blacky - two opportunistic buddies sharing a spirited lust for women, booze and madcap brawling - attain riches and heroic praise dealing arms to the war's resistance fighters. When things get too hot, they move into an intricate cellar packed with refugees whom Marko encourages to manufacture the contraband. With Blacky convinced he should remain hidden in the cellar until the war ends, Marko conspires to leave him there as he grows richer from the toils of the people living underground. Over fifteen years pass before a web of lies unfolds and Blacky emerges from the shelter to seek his revenge.

***

This Palme d'Or winning film, directed by Emir Kusturica, uses the epic story of two friends to portray the history of Yugoslavia.

The film follows two underground black market weapons manufacturers, Marko and Blacky, in Belgrade. Their story begins in WWII, selling weapons to the Communist resistance, and culminates when they re-emerge from the subterranean shelter during the Yugoslavian Civil War in the 1990s.

The film is a testament to Kusturica's talent and won him his second Palme d'Or something which only seven directors have ever managed to achieve. One of the most iconic features of the film is its unique soundtrack by Goran Bregovi several songs from the album such as Mese cina and Kalasnjikov, became classic brass-band hits.

This Blu-ray premier release of Kusturica's celebrated film is presented with the complete 5-hour TV version, Once Upon a Time There Was One Country and Aleksandar Manic's Shooting Days: Emir Kusturica Directs Underground.

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 1995 - Cannes Film Festival

Reviews                                                              More Reviews                                                   DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL vs. A-Film Home Entertainment / Boomerang Pictures - Region 0 - PAL vs. BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Pieter Boven and Henrik Sylow for the DVD Screen Caps!

 

1) New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) A-Film Home Entertainment / Boomerang Pictures - Region 0 - PAL THIRD

4) BFI - Region 'B'- Blu-ray  RIGHT

 

Box Covers

    

    

 

Distribution

New Yorker Video

Region 1 - NTSC

Artificial Eye
Region 2 - PAL
A-Film Home Entertainment / Boomerang Pictures
Region 0 - PAL
BFI
Region 'B' -Blu-ray
Runtime 2:42:50 2:43:02 (4% PAL speedup) 2:43:05 (4% PAL speedup) 2:49:48.541
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.40 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.26 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.77:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.72 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.85:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,393,672,884 bytes

Feature: 44,976,752,640 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

New Yorker Video

 

Bitrate:

 

Artificial Eye

 

Bitrate:

 

A-Film Home Entertainment / Boomerang Pictures

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

 

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital Serbo-Croation

2.0 Dolby Digital Serbo-Croation, 5.1 Dolby Digital Serbo-Croation

2.0 Dolby Digital Serbo-Croation, 5.1 Dolby Digital Serbo-Croation, 2.0 Dolby Digital French (dub)

DTS-HD Master Audio Croatian 4168 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4168 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio Croatian 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English, None Dutch, French, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: New Yorker Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with Director Emir Kustrica (3:00)
• Underground's French theatrical trailer, as well as trailers for New Yorker Video's DVD releases Tr

DVD Release Date: December 23, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Emir Kusturica Biography
• Behind the Scenes (20:50)
• Cannes aftershow party (2:53)
• Black Cat White Cat trailer
• Underground trailer
• Life is a Miracle trailer

 

DVD Release Date: October 23, 2006
Amarey

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio: A-Film Home Entertainment / Boomerang Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.77:1

Edition Details:
• Kusturica 7 years later (27:00)
• Interviews with actors Miki Manojlovic (2:00), Lazar Ristovski (1:30), Mirjana Jokovic (2:30)
• Behind the scenes (1:30)
• Photo gallery
• Trailers for Underground (1995), Black Cat White Cat (1998), Arizona Dream (1993)
• Filmographies
• Historical notes
• * No English language options for movie or extras
 

DVD Release Date: December 5, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 21

Release Information:
Studio: BFI

Aspect Ratio:

1.85:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,393,672,884 bytes

Feature: 44,976,752,640 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Trailer (1:07)

On the DVDs:

DVD 1:

• Once Upon a Time There Was One Country (1995, Kusturica): 6-part TV re-working of Underground (Episodes 1-4 - 3:27:02)

DVD 2:

• Episodes 5 + 6 (1:41:36)
• Shooting Days: Emir Kusturica Directs Underground (1996, Aleksandar Manic, 73 mins): on-set documentary (1:12:40)
• EPK Items: (Behind the Scenes, Interviews etc. - total - 16:21)
• Illustrated booklet with new writing and full film credits

Blu-ray Release Date: February 29th, 2016
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 16

 

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (February 2016): Firstly, this is quite a package although not what some fans were expecting. The package is 3-discs with the 2:50:00 feature in the lone Blu-ray disc (only shared with a trailer for the film.) The first DVD is dual-layered and has episodes 1-4 - running 3.5 hours in PAL (of 6 parts) of the 5-hour TV version, Once Upon a Time There Was One Country. The last DVD, also dual-layered and PAL, has parts 5 + 6 of the 1995 TV version plus some extras; The 1 1/4 hour, excellent on-set documentary, Shooting Days: Emir Kusturica Directs Underground directed by Aleksandar Manic from 1996. There are also some EPK (electronic press kit) Items: (Behind the Scenes, Interviews etc.) that total 16-minutes. The package itself has a wonderful illustrated booklet with new writing and full film credits.

 

So how's the quality? The feature film, in 1.85:1, is approaching 3-hours but on a, bare-bones, dual-layered Blu-ray the 1080P image is supported with a decent-high bitrate and the image is quite stable, perhaps a shade blue-leaning but the DVDs all looked too dull and green (and presumably from the same source.) So it's definitely a notable improvement. The HD visuals are brighter and show much more information in the frame. There are hints of depth and it's nice to see the consistent texture. It looks like the 'newly remastered' image softness is inherent in the source. I was pleased with the appearance and it's the best I have seen the film look to date.

 

The DVDs are, predictably, thin - so much data filling the discs - but support the HD colors scheme and look acceptable - although not stellar (3 comparison captures below). Yes, it's too bad it wasn't in 1080P, but it's hard to look a gift horse in the mouth. I think many fans will be so pleased to have this version available to watch.

 

The varied score by Goran Bregovic (Arizona Dream) - with pieces like Symphony Nş3 Organ and the Underground Tango - sounds very bouncy and pleasing in the lossless - the audio options being a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a whopping 4168 kbps or a linear PCM 2.0 channel stereo - both 24-bit and in the original Serbo-Croation. Effects (gun shots and trumpeting elephants) sound rich and very deep. I expect this is the best the film has sounded and there is impressive separation in the surround.

 

There is a tonne of value in this Blu-ray package - we're talking a premium feature in 1080P, the availability of the 5-hour TV version and 1.5 hour's worth of extras as well as a liner notes booklet! It's a must-own for many! Yes, we endorse. 

***

 

ON THE DVDs - Henrik Sylow on the AE - The transfer of Artificial Eye is identical to A-Film in sharpness, colours and sharpness. While compression artefacts are slightly more visible in Artificial Eye, when zooming on stills, they are not visible at regular viewing. As such, its par.

***

Gary Tooze on New Yorker vs. A-Film -The PAL DVD is sharper and the New Yorker DVD has that usual greenish - washed out- tinge to it. Obviously the big issue is that the A-Film DVD does not offer any English options (no subs or even dubs). What this does tell us is that there is a better transfer out there that has not reached NYSC shores yet. Shame as this is a fine film. Region 1'ers will have to suffice with the New Yorker (their first dual DVD) for now. I don't see anything else on the horizon for this film in North America. No cropping on either edition and contrast is a shade superior on the PAL version. If you don't require English - then this is the route to go - if you do I understand the New Yorker is far superior to a Region 4 version that is currently available.

 


DVD Menus
(
New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. A-Film Home Entertainment / Boomerang Pictures - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

DVD 1

DVD 2

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920 X 1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) A-Film Home Entertainment / Boomerang Pictures - Region 0 - PAL THIRD

4) BFI - Region 2 - PAL DVD (included with Blu-ray)  FOURTH

5) BFI - Region 'B'- Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


 

1) New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) A-Film Home Entertainment / Boomerang Pictures - Region 0 - PAL THIRD

4) BFI - Region 'B'- Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


 

1) New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) A-Film Home Entertainment / Boomerang Pictures - Region 0 - PAL THIRD

4) BFI - Region 'B'- Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


 

1) New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) A-Film Home Entertainment / Boomerang Pictures - Region 0 - PAL THIRD

4) BFI - Region 2 - PAL DVD (included with Blu-ray)  FOURTH

5) BFI - Region 'B'- Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


 

1) New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) A-Film Home Entertainment / Boomerang Pictures - Region 0 - PAL THIRD

4) BFI - Region 2 - PAL DVD (included with Blu-ray)  FOURTH

5) BFI - Region 'B'- Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


 

1) New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) A-Film Home Entertainment / Boomerang Pictures - Region 0 - PAL THIRD

4) BFI - Region 'B'- Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 
Box Covers

    

    

 

Distribution

New Yorker Video

Region 1 - NTSC

Artificial Eye
Region 2 - PAL
A-Film Home Entertainment / Boomerang Pictures
Region 0 - PAL
BFI
Region 'B' -Blu-ray




 

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Gary Tooze

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