OK, I get the point about being subterranean, but what about the context of a subculture? Things like alternative,clandestine,secret(weak),unknown, revolutionary,unpopular, or whatever else might fit. The whole idea of not being being part of the mainstream culture...
It would be pointless to label what is and isn't underground, because, part of the nature of our consumer society, what once was underground will eventually be coopted into the mainstream, tamed down, and marketed away into insignificance, though not without having whatever life it had sucked out of it.

Underground is the name of a film by Emir Kusturica which won the Palme D'Or at Cannes in 1995 and subsequently did so badly at cinemas worldwide, despite critical acclaim, that Kusturica declared that he would never make another film. Part of its unpopularity must have come from its length (roughly 3 hours) and its style (surreal and fantastic), as it is an astounding experience emotionally and cinematically.

Its main theme is the exploration of the upheavals that have wracked the former Yugoslavia from the second world war until around the time of its fragmentation into smaller states. Instead of focusing on the outward social changes and wars, it follows a group of Yugoslavian rebels during WWII who are hiding in an underground bunker. Their compatriot in the house above them doesn't tell them when the war ends, keeping them in the bunker by producing regular air raid sounds and feeding them 'news' of the world above, while they make him rich by making weapons and ammunition which he sells.

As one might expect, the film addresses issues of war and betrayal through surreal events and powerful images rather than rational discussion. One of the most disturbing and powerful moments comes when the hero, Blacky, sets his friend (who betrayed them) on fire in his motorized wheelchair, which proceeds to career blazing in circles around Blacky, who is beating his forehead off a stone column in despair.

The film also explores issues of truth and fiction in a much lighter way, such as when Blacky and his son attack a crew who are shooting a scene from a Nazi film, mistaking them for real Nazis because, of course, they don't know yet that the war isn't over.

Somehow, as in Arizona Dream, Kusturica manages to give the viewer a powerful sense of empathy with characters who are more than mildly unhinged and divorced from reality, by showing that no matter what craziness they are involved in, or what their emotional pain makes them do to each other, they are full of tenderness and sorrow and laughter like all of us. At the end of the film, the dead characters are seen drifting away from shore on an island which represents the Yugoslavia they once knew, which no longer exists except in dreams and art and memory, the human acts of preservation which we can all understand.

Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack And The Japanese Psyche is a non-fiction book by Murakami Haruki. The book tells the story of the Tokyo gas attacks that were carried out by Aum Shinrikyo on March 20th, 1995 through interviews Murakami conducted with the victims of the attack as well as members of the Aum cult.

The book is split into two parts: the first part being the victims and the second part being the cult members.

Each victim Murakami interviewed has his or her own section of the book, which generally ranges from 4-5 pages long. Each person usually has a brief summary of who the person is and what their life is all about. Then that individual section is categorized under whichever subway line the person was on when the attack took place.

The victims stories are all unique and interesting: ranging from interesting differences in facts (in one section people try to decide whether or not a handkerchief that was waved out of an emergency vehicle was red or black) to incredibly touching stories (one girl, who was so badly affected by the sarin gas that she is now basically brain dead, wants nothing more than to visit Disneyland). With each personal experience brings an incredible amount of depth is added to the story, helping to paint a picture of what the day must have truly been like.

The cult members section tends to deal with their experiences in the cult rather than what part they had in the gas attack, although there are a few who talk only about their part in the gas attack as most didn’t even know the gas attack was going to take place. Some members talk about how the cults leader, Shoko Asahara, abused them or how they were thrown into solitary confinement during their stay at the cult headquarters. However, it’s interesting to see that many of the people interviewed are still in the cult even though the cult has gotten so much negative publicity since the gas attack.

Also included in the book is a brief editorial, titled Blind Nightmare: Where Are We Japanese Going?, in which Murakami Haruki tries to explain key points of the Japanese society and how it relates to what happened on the 20th of March in 1995.

The film "Underground" also has a superb soundtrack, written by Goran Bregovic. It's available as a CD on Mercury (Polygram).

Unlike most soundtracks, this is an integral part of the film. The musicians are usually visible when music is playing (e.g. standing behind the dancers at the wedding): at other times, it has a visible source like a phonograph which a character switches on.

The music is what you might call Yugo-Country, heavy on the brass and wailing voices. I'm told the words are very funny, but it'll make you smile - and shed a tear - even if you don't speak a word of Serbo-Croatian. The musicians are in the talented amateur category, tuning and timing are optional.

Track listing:
YaYa (Ringe Ringe Raja)
Cajesukarije - Cocek
The Belly-Button of the world

Un"der*ground` (?), n.

The place or space beneath the surface of the ground; subterranean space.

A spirit raised from depth of underground. Shak.


© Webster 1913.

Un"der*ground`, a.


Being below the surface of the ground; as, an underground story or apartment.


Done or occurring out of sight; secret.


Underground railroadrailway. See under Railroad.


© Webster 1913.

Un"der*ground`, adv.

Beneath the surface of the earth.


© Webster 1913.

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