Underground

  • Directors: Emir Kusturica
  • Producers: Pierre Spengler, Karl Baumgartner
  • Writers: Emir Kusturica
  • Genres: Drama, Comedy
  • Actors: Lazar Ristovski

The film follows three characters through Yugoslavia’s history, from World War II to the Cold War and finally the Yugoslav wars.

The film opens in Belgrade in the early morning hours of Sunday, April 6, 1941 as two roguish bon vivants Blacky and Marko head home following a night of hard drinking. Serenaded by a brass orchestra, they shout salutes to Marko’s brother Ivan, an lame stutterer who keeps animals at the city’s zoo. The pair arrive at Blacky’s house, where they meet his pregnant wife Vera, and announce that they have joined the Communist Party. The next morning, Nazi bombs begin falling on Belgrade. Ivan is grief-stricken by the deaths of most of his animals, but Marko and Blacky seem unfazed. After the Wehrmacht occupies the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the pair begins stealing German weapons and valuables along with other communist activists. Rather than donate the goods to the Partisans, however, most activists use the racket for personal gain. Blacky occasionally visits his mistress Natalija, a spoiled actress who is also being wooed by Franz, a Nazi officer. When Nazi radio bulletins announce a city-wide search for Blacky and Marko, the pair flee to a hidden cellar in Marko’s grandfather’s house along with their friends and family. Upon entering the cellar, Vera gives birth to a son, Jovan, and dies.

The film jumps to 1992, at the height of the Yugoslav wars. Blacky is an embittered yet patriotic warlord who is still searching for his son. Marko, now crippled, continues his relationship with Natalija as well as his work in the arms trade. Blacky’s men capture Marko and Natalija during an arms deal, and he orders their execution as war profiteers before learning their identity. Ultimately, both Blacky and Ivan commit suicide. In a surreal ending, all of Blacky and Marko’s friends and family are reunited at Jovan’s wedding. Ivan, without stuttering, ends the film with a closing monologue, saying that the united Yugoslavia will be remembered as a golden age: “Once upon a time, there was a country.”

Superman II

  • Directors: Richard Lester, Richard Donner
  • Producers: Pierre Spengler
  • Writers: Screenplay, Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Creative Consultant, Tom Mankiewicz, Story, Mario Puzo, Comic Book, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster
  • Genres: Adventure, Romance, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Sarah Douglas, Margot Kidder, Jack O Halloran, Valerie Perrine, Susannah York, Clifton James, E G Marshall, Marc McClure, Terence Stamp

Prior to the destruction of Krypton, the criminals General Zod, Ursa and Non are banished into the Phantom Zone. The Zone travels through the galaxy and nears Earth, where it is caught in the explosion of a hydrogen bomb that Superman threw into space in order to save the Eiffel Tower and Paris; the explosion causes the Zone to shatter and free the three Kryptonians, who find they have super powers due to the yellow light of Earth’s sun. They discover human astronauts on the moon, and mistakenly believe that the center of Earth’s power is in Houston, Texas, traveling there to claim the planet for themselves. After destroying much of the town of East Houston, Idaho and defacing the presidential faces on Mount Rushmore, they travel to the White House and force the United States President to surrender to General Zod; though the President does so, he also warns Zod that Superman will defeat them, causing Zod to demand via national broadcast that Superman kneel before him.

Meanwhile, Clark Kent and Lois Lane are sent on assignment for the Daily Planet to Niagara Falls. After Superman saves a boy carelessly playing on the rails, Lois decides that Clark is Superman and intentionally puts herself in danger by going into the water. Clark does not become Superman, but cuts a log secretly with his heat vision, and helps her escape that way. She feels disgusted. As they return to the hotel, she insists on cleaning up and requests something to restore her hair. Clark picks it up, trips, and burns his hands in the fireplace before her very eyes. At least, he should have. Scrambling to help him, she notices no damage and realizes she was right all along. With his secret revealed, Superman decides to take Lois to his Fortress of Solitude. There, he shows her the traces of his past stored in energy crystals, one of which Lois misplaces under her purse. Superman decides to undergo the irreversible process of becoming a human to be able to love Lois. After his transformation, the two spend the night together and then return to Metropolis. They discover what Zod and his companions have done, including Zod’s demand to Superman, and Clark realizes he must return to the Fortress to try to restore his powers, and begins the long trip alone. Once there, he discovers the crystal that Lois had misplaced, and uses its power to restore his abilities.

In the Fortress, Superman attempts to subdue Zod and the others, but is unable to. Under the threat of harming Lois, Zod forces Superman to become human again. Superman appears to undergo the transformation process, but when he emerges, Zod, Ursa, and Non realize they have been the ones transformed into humans, as Superman was able to reconfigure the process before they arrived. Lois is able to break free, and she and Superman quickly cause the three to fall into the depths of the Fortress to their doom. Lex tries to assure Superman that he was in on this plan, but Superman returns him to the authorities. After Superman helps to restore the damage Zod wrought, he still finds that Lois knows his secret. It’s also tearing her up inside. Superman kisses Lois, using his telepathic abilities to erase her memory of the past few days to keep his secret safe, and take her grief away. Superman restores the American flag atop the White House, assuring the President that he will never again abandon his duty.

Superman

  • Directors: Richard Donner
  • Producers: Alexander Salkind, Ilya Salkind, Pierre Spengler, Richard Lester, Michael Thau
  • Writers: Screenplay, Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Robert Benton, Creative Consultant, Tom Mankiewicz, Story, Mario Puzo, Comic Book, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster
  • Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Marlon Brando

On the planet Krypton, using evidence provided by scientist Jor-El, the Ruling Council sentences three insurrectionists, General Zod, Ursa and Non, to “eternal living death” in the Phantom Zone for attempting a totalitarian rebellion. Although the Council widely respects him, Jor-El is unable to convince them of his belief that the Kryptonian sun will shortly explode and destroy their planet. As a result, Jor-El launches a spacecraft containing his infant son, Kal-El, towards Earth, a distant planet with a suitable atmosphere, and where Kal-El’s dense molecular structure will give him superhuman powers (since all Kryptonian life-forms gain superpowers from exposure to a yellow sun, such as Earth’s sun). Shortly after the ship launches, Krypton is destroyed.

Three years later, the ship reaches Earth, crashing near an American farming town, Smallville, Kansas, where Kal-El is found by Jonathan and Martha Kent and raised as their own son, Clark. Eighteen years later, after the death of Jonathan, Clark hears a psychic “call”, discovering a glowing green crystal in the ship. Compelled to travel north, Clark heads to the Arctic Circle, where the crystal builds the Fortress of Solitude, resembling the architecture of Krypton. Activating a control panel inside the fortress, a vision of Jor-El explains Clark’s origins, educating him in his powers and responsibilities. After twelve years, with his powers fully developed, Clark leaves the Fortress and finds a job at The Daily Planet in Metropolis. He meets and develops a romantic attraction to reporter Lois Lane, but the feelings are not returned: she regards him as merely a friend. Lois becomes involved in a helicopter accident where conventional means of rescue are impossible, requiring Clark to use his powers in public for the first time in order to save her.

Teschmacher is horrified because her mother lives in Hackensack, but Luthor does not care and leaves Superman to a slow death. Teschmacher rescues Superman on the condition that he will deal with the New Jersey missile first. He is consequently too late to stop the second impact, causing a massive earthquake which he battles to correct. While he is busy saving others, Lois’ car falls into the ground as a result of an aftershock, and quickly begins to fill with dirt and debris, which suffocates her to death. Distraught at being unable to save Lois, Superman ignores Jor-El’s warning not to interfere with human history, preferring to remember Jonathan Kent’s advice that he must be here for “a reason”, and travels back in time in order to save Lois, altering the historical timeline so that her car is never caught in the aftershock. Superman then delivers Luthor and Otis to prison, where he knows they will be secure until they receive a fair trial.