A Serbian Film: 2010 lowpoint

Tuesday, 11 January 2011 15:12

There’s an old saying that goes: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. If ever there was a movie that this statement was designed for, then “A Serbian Film” is it. Amongst the extras on this release, you will find some incredibly lame attempts by the Director to suggest this film somehow is a statement, apparently artistically made, to show, in effect, that we are all prostitutes, enslaved by the powers-that-be from birth, and this is a kick against the system.

Absolute garbage.  That sums up both this film and any outrageous attempt to justify the work of incredibly sick minds.  In fact, we weren’t going to cover this release at all, save for the fact we were sent a review copy anyhow. Indeed, just talking about this film is giving it publicity it doesn’t deserve.  Whilst a few in the conspiracy world will perhaps try and find a justification for applauding the Director’s alleged attempts to expose the system, this isn’t a movie that will open eyes.  In fact, it does exactly the opposite.

A Serbian Film on DVD and Blu-ray - Avoid unless you're certifiableIf “A Serbian Film” has got on your radar at all, you’ll have seen the following words used in press blurb to whet the interest: “Confrontational, shocking, uncompromising, with hints of dark humour and absolutely unforgettable”.  Well, yes, it’s all those things, bar the dark humour.  It’s unforgettable simply as it’s absolutely unbelievable that it was made by anyone with a grain of human empathy within their DNA.  The only sick hilarity that comes from it is that, once you understand the producers will do everything possible to shock you, you know EXACTLY what’s coming next. 

What’s the worst thing that could happen?  Once you have that in your mind, then there are no surprises.  If the PR guys want a line for their next thrash of publicity, try this: “An unrelenting trek into snuff movies with paedophilia, necrophilia and incest weaved into its core, against the backdrop of the porn movie biz, which becomes hopelessly tame in comparison”.

The script, if you can call it that, is by a Serbian horror film critic, Aleksandar Radivojevic – we are told in the press blurb that his “Tears for Sale” was award winning; impressive until you find it was the token “Free Spirit Award” at the 2008 Warsaw International Film Festival.

This is the debut feature from director Srdjan Spasojevic, who we are told by Tim Anderson at Bloodydisgusting.com has created “... an allegorical, taboo shattering film that follows French cinema pioneers Gaspar Noe (“Irreversible”) and Virginie Despentes (“Baise-moi”) in destroying the status quo regarding on-screen violence and sexuality”. Might I suggest what the poor, misguided soul has actually done is create a spectacle that does everything to give a reason for greater censorship and totalitarianism.  Common law is all about doing no harm; this movie is harmful to everyone, and the only sort of uprising it will create is a mass siding with the establishment in taking away our freedoms.  

Writer Radivojevic describes the film as “a diary of our molestation by the Serbian government… It’s about the monolithic power of leaders who hypnotise you to do things you don’t want to do.” While those who have done the research know that mind control (through drugs and hypnosis) and paedophilia are rampant in the absolute echelons of global society, this film fails to deliver an exposure of this, by not making it clear who exactly the customers are for the sordid debauchery that is the subject of the film within the film. 

Indeed, if they really wanted to get this message across, then in the most critical area of their efforts they have actually pulled punches. All they have done is made it a little more impossible for this type of exposure of wickedness in the real world to actually happen.  The stoic public will just say: “Oh, it’s like in that Serbian Film thing... total nonsense”. So, real victims like Hollie Greig will remain hidden, and ultimately forgotten.

For what it’s worth, here’s the “Brodie’s Notes” for the film, to save you the hell of having to endure it: Milos (Srdjan Todorovic) is a retired porn star leading a normal family life with his wife Maria (Jelena Gavrilovic) and six-year old son Petar, just trying to make ends meet. Layla (Katarina Zutic), a former co-star, introduces Milos to Vukmir (Sergej Trifunovic), a mysterious, menacing and politically powerful figure in the porn business. He wants Milos to star in his latest project, and is willing to pay him a fee that will provide financial independence to Milos and his family for the rest of their lives. The only condition is that Milos signs a contract insisting on him not being aware of the content of the scenes they are about to shoot.

Encouraged by his wife to accept the job, Milos turns up for the first day of shooting and is immediately drawn into a pastiche of unbelievable cruelty and mayhem devised by his employer. The only way for Milos to escape this living hell and to save his family is to sacrifice everything - pride, morality, and sanity. Satanists, narcissists and those with no boundaries will be well-satisfied by the carnage that is served up.

Variety magazine had the audacity to call it “a well crafted, immensely indecent smut-slasher”.  Well, they’re right in one way – never on celluloid has the making of a movie, where characters are killed for real, been more graphically portrayed.  If that’s how you get your rocks off, you need help.  Serious help. Comparisons with the likes of “Requiem For A Dream”, “Videodrome”, “Irreversible” and “Antichrist”, for it being one of the ‘provocative’ films ever, misses the point. This is titillation aimed at an audience that not only should not be encouraged, but are actually a danger to themselves and others.

Shock Horror magazine, whoever they might be, said of the film when giving it four stars that it was “visually and constructively amazing, a tour de force of morbid beauty”. It beggars belief that the word ‘beauty’ could be used in relation to this train wreck of pure wickedness. God forbid that two of our tabloids got it right when they said it was “a loathsome shocker” (Daily Star) and “vile, ugly and just repulsive” (The People).  Shame on Kim Newman, who must have been fulfilling some ‘rent-a-quote’ brief when he said in Empire magazine: “If you collect controversy, this is a must-see, interesting, important, and worth a heated discussion over the stiff drinks you’ll need after you see it.”

And so to those ‘special features,’ and I use the word ‘special’ here with some reserve. There is that introduction by Director Srdjan Spasojevic, and a Q&A session hosted by Alan Jones with Spasojevic and Nikola Pantelic (Producer – who struggles to get a word in edgeways) following the Premiere screening at the Prince Charles Cinema, London, on 25 January 2010 (which is an exclusive to the UK release). I had to watch both of these features twice, just to confirm my levels of disbelief.  Never has a Director so missed the point he was trying to make with his work, and in effect given an hour and a half of ammunition to the very forces he opposes.

In the Q&A, they moan about the BBFC cuts to the movie. 4 minutes and 11 seconds were trimmed by the scissors, these being 49 individual cuts across eleven scenes, mainly due to the following: “Cuts required to remove portrayals of children in a sexualised or abusive context and images of sexual and sexualised violence which have a tendency to eroticise or endorse the behaviour.”  Given what was left, you can only guess at the horrors that were removed! In a free society you have every right to watch whatever you want to, and I will defend your right to do so, but sometimes film-makers make this more of a moral dilemma than it really should be.

“A Serbian Film” is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, with a running time of 95 minutes approx, an ‘18’ certificate (for very strong sexual violence, sex and violence), and a RRP of £17.99 for the DVD, £19.99 for the Blu-ray, or get it for less at www.culttvstore.com – if you really are that sick (or want to be made THAT sick), that is...

 

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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