Day 16 of 31
Srpski Film, – A Serbian Film (Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller, 2010) (18) D: Srdjan Spasojevic W: Srdjan Spasojevic, Aleksandar Radivojevic C: Srdjan Todorovic, Sergej Trifunovic, Jelena Gavrilovic. 1h 44m. Serbia.
Synopsis : An aging porn star agrees to participate in an “art film” in order to make a clean break from the business, only to discover that he has been drafted into making a pedophilia and necrophilia themed snuff film.
TAGLINE : Not all films have a happy ending
One of the top contenders in the heavyweight division of disturbing and banned movies in the form of rare piece of transgressive art. Seemingly inspired by a range of political and sociological events in modern Serbia. Although mistakenly assumed to be an excuse for “just being a video nasty”.
Funnily enough through all the grime and grot this film does address some fairly serious issues, I think in some ways it lets itself down by promoting them in such a vivid way, but to be honest and in the words of John Doe from Se7en (1995) , “Wanting people to listen, you can’t just tap them on the shoulder anymore, you have to hit them with a sledgehammer and then you’ll notice you’ve got their strict attention.”
The plot is simple, Milos, an ex porn star, gets pulled back into the business to make a private movie for an unknown group, after signing up to the project he slowly uncovers a much darker undercurrents and struggled to get out. Milo’s has an older brother Marko veteran Serbian TV and movie actor (Slobodan Bestic) who lusts constantly over Milo’s stunning l wife Marja (Jelena gavrilovic) and in totally contrast to Milos has trouble activating his manhood. Milos and his family’s tranquil life is suddenly thrown into turmoil once he agrees to take on an unusual film contract from Vukmir (Sergej Trifunovic), who looks like a perfect candidate for a Sheriff of Nottingham role). Things start to get dark and sadistic and then hit a new level of depravity as Milos is injected with an unnamed drug to help him perform and lose touch with reality a sort of porn cocaine, the lines of reality blur and Milos becomes a f*cking and killing machine and doesn’t realise what dangers he and his family are in.
Obviously dealing pretty graphic and gruesome the style and theme of the movie is very dark and stark. I t deals with a lot of tragedy, violence and gritty issues so well and true to nature. Usually these events are dulled over by Holywood, the blow is cushioned by a joke, comical moment and while A Serbian film does have the odd laugh, they cushion nothing; you’re put on edge and kept there until the film lets you go.
The film is enhanced by its sheer honesty, nothing is left for the imagination, it is shown. Well mostly! There are a few things that even for a Serbian film have to be left to the imagination, but you are given a huge helping hand as to what is actually going on. The drama, those little bits between the shocking porno scenes are extremely well-acted and shot. Some of the better scenes include the interactions between Marko the other characters, he’s jealous of his brother Milos but keeps him close just to perve over his wife and to keep in touch with beautiful porn stars, he’s not the best police officer in the world.
On the DVD I have of this, it has a very interesting intro from the director it’s both humorous and very poignant. It lays out that censorship is a pretty prevalent and destructive thing, that the movie is more about people getting fucked by their governments and not realising, the clip is then cut short and the movie begins. It is very important to see this before the movie although I feel a lot of people just like to use this film to get on their high horse and preach without really realising the concept behind the film.
As expected with a movie of this calibre there is some disgusting dialogue, but nothing over the top, I’m sure if you were put into these situations there would be a lot more swearing. The screenplay is quite ingenious as the film moves seamlessly from right family drama into surreal porno hell and back again. There are a lot of sensitive issues discussed in the film, a father mother and son talking about sexual feeling that the boy is experiences and who give tips on masturbation, it’s nothing all that strange for euro films though, if you take into consideration the taboo issues in Dogtooth (2009).
Despite being hard to watch for the content, it has to be noted that it’s actually a really well made film with a range of very impressive camera work with a very harsh soundtrack centred around some underground euro industrial sounds from Serbian musician Wikluh Sky. (http://www.last.fm/music/Wikluh+Sky) When Milos is actually filming the scenes for the contraversial Serbian film itself, the whole atmosphere changes into a very surreal and dramatic Twin Peaks styled, obsurley chequerboard floors, sparsley furnished rooms and everything seems out of proportion and twisted. Even the young girl that if offered to Milos is wearing a blue and white Alice style dress as she urges him on.
As I’ve said the acting is good, Milos is a very strong main and for most of the film we identify with him, for as long as he’s sensing what’s wrong with the movie, his bewilderment and disgust is very real. Milos seems to be “us” in the movie, he reacts in the same way that we do to the disgusting acts that are displayed to him/us. He’s supported by a good cast, not only good actors but bold and versatile artist who pushed many personal boundaries to convey this layered tale. Milos literally is transformed from a father and lover into a machine without realising. There is a scene where Milos starts to tweak what’s going on and literally holds his penis as ransom, he holds a knife to his cock and then jumps out the window with director Vukmir (Sergej Trifunović) screaming “Our film jumped through the window”, this shows just how important Milos is, talk about taking one for your country.
Director and co-writer Srdjan Spaseojevic successfully creates a claustrophobic and chaotic world. Not only does he get the point across that normal people can be manipulated into animals but he details all the smalls steps in a way that can be identified with. It’ great to see a director go all the way with their ideas and not to bend to the whims of popularity and sales. You can tell by the effort and care that has gone into Serbian film that it wasn’t just filmed for shock sake everything is relative to the
If you’ve ever sat down and thought about all the shitty things that could go on in this world and have found it easy to shake it off and move on with you life, one of the amazing things that Serbian Film will do is to reminds you just how depraved and disgusting this world and the people within it can be. It breaks down any moral limits that you would assume were in place.
Well it has to be said, but if you’re easily offended then just don’t’ bother searching for this. If you’re a gore fiend and are into disturbing movies you might find that this falls a little short. Yes there are some sick scenes but to be honest it’s not the epitome of the genre, or maybe I really have seen things.. things you’d never believe.. Hopefully you will have some questions for yourself after viewing this controversial film Hopefully you’ll start to question a few other things about the society we live in, if you fail to see this aspect of the film then you’ll certainly have some questions about the sanity of the director and I think that would make him chuckle.
A story about the plight of modern man against the establishment has been done to death and more recently is labelled as paranoid and boring. Deliver it in a slightly different way and it will gain attention. Sadly the movie isn’t known or credited for this, instead people are so shocked by its delivery and obvious content that no one wants to look any deeper. It does work into shocking most of it’s audience into realising just how fragile we all can be both mentally and physically.
V: As much as I adore this movie, and I honestly do! I love to settle down and get into it, not even for the perverted joys that it brings, just literally because of the acting and how the movie flows. I’ve been accused of claiming to like the movie purely for the shock factor of claiming to like it, this is not true, it’s a truly dark comedy the blackest darkest comedy for the depraved. But if you look past the grotesqueness and see it for it’s surreal absurdism and to appreciate the artistic side of the imagery it’s a great film. Now the magic really happens when you put it all into context as prescribed by the director and it’s suddenly a whole new horror ball game. Some people don’t want to have to think so much about a film, especially when it’s showing such vulgar scenes, if Spasojevic had made a stereotypical drama about the struggles of Serbia then it would have been glazed over, I think the biggest insult that the movie has caused is by being called “A Serbian Film” no country would want this marketed as a film of “their” country! It lives up to the hype and if it doesn’t thrill, you can at least be guaranteed that you will see something new.
Rating – 10/10
R: Martyrs (2008) , Salo (1975) , The Human Centipede (2009) , Irreversible (2002), Ex Drummer (2007)
5B : Banned Movies
L: Disturbing top 50, Selected Serbian Films, Banned movies, Films that haven’t helped with tourism.
PD : Post Discussion to come