MY UNCLE’S LEGACY begins in the Yugoslavia of today. Martin Kujundzic, a prominent modern writer living in Zagreb, is shocked by the sudden appearance of his uncle Stephen, a high-ranking Communist official, now elderly and near death. Stephen has come to ask for Martin’s forgiveness for some violent incidents in the past. He has also come to express a dying wish: that he be buried in a full religious ceremony.
Martin complies with this strange request from a Communist Party leader. The funeral, however, turns into a fiasco, with insulted Party officials leaving in a huff. As Martin drives off from the funeral, memories from the past unfold…
The year is 1951. Yugoslavia is in the throes of Communist revolutionary fervor inspired by Tito’s break with Stalin and the Soviet Union. Martin, attending a teachers training college, is a bright student with a sharp wit, who has become notorious for sketching caricatures skewering fellow students, including Korina, President of the “Youth Organization”.
Korina is involved in a promiscuous affair with a professor. The two scheme to get back at Martin by framing him for writing graffiti on a college wall that defends an ousted former principal. At a student court presided over by Korina, Martin is labeled an individualist and subversive. However, before Martin can be expelled, his uncle Stephen asserts his influence.
Meanwhile, new government regulations go into effect that give special subsidies for educational expenses to worker’s children but not to farmer’s. While home on his grandfather’s farm for school holidays, Martin notes the tension between Uncle Stephen and his grandfather, who has given a good deal of the family’s land to the government, and in a fit of rage has slaughtered their herd of sheep to prevent the local farming collective from taking them.
The new regulations eventually force Martin to move from the college dorm into a rooming house. Animosity continues to build between workers and farmers, until one evening Martin is beaten by a gang of workers. He writes an angry letter to his uncle Stephen protesting the unjust treatment he is receiving and warning that others are feeling the same. What he doesn’t realize is that his uncle, determined to make an example of him, has sent the letter to police. Martin and his friends are brought in for questioning and accused of forming an insurgent organization.
A college tribunal investigates Martin’s “insurgent activities”. A student court session is called, but quickly degenerates into an ugly mob scene, as Martin realizes that his uncle has betrayed him with a charge of political subversion. A vicious demonstration ensues that results in irreparable and tragic violence.
Initially, a pocket of Slavs saw this film as an attempt to undermine the values of the Communist Revolution. In fact, one political organization with strong ties to the Communist Party forcefully blocked the project in court. A few years ago a director would have been virtually powerless in the face of such strong government-related opposition to make this film, but in the newly liberalized climate of Eastern Europe, it has been produced.
This is a well crafted film about a group of students caught in the turmoil of a revolutionary society in the early 1950s. Still, the emphasis should be on these Scriptures: Proverbs 22:2, “Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all;” 2 Corinthians 3:17, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom;” and, Ezekiel 45:9, “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You have gone far enough, O princes of Israel! Give up your violence and oppression and do what is just and right. Stop dispossessing my people, declares the Sovereign Lord.'”
MY UNCLE’S LEGACY clearly shows the insidious nature of socialism with its mob rule by the dictatorship of the proletariat. The return to religion and the asking for forgiveness by Uncle Stephen, a high Communist official, is particularly encouraging as an antidote to the vagaries of socialist humanism.
Unfortunately, the film is not without its share of immorality. There is violence, two relationships that contain promiscuous sex, female nudity and sexual fondling, and sub-titled obscenity and vulgarity.
Obscenities and vulgarities; female frontal nudity; promiscuity and sexual references; and, violence