Posted November 4, 2010 by Alex Moss Editor in DVD/Blu-ray
 
 

Serbian Film, A


A film that pushes all the
boundaries of what is socially acceptable without ever finding a reason to
resonate.

For
all the wrong reasons A Serbian Film has garnered a lot of press inches. It is
a film that makes no qualms about setting out to shock, horrify and nauseate in
as many ways as possible. With the BBFC
insisting that 4 minutes be cut, in order to obtain a release on these shores, A Serbian Film is not a film to be
undertaken without due care and attention
.

Milos
(Todorovic) is a retired porn star
struggling to provide for his young wife and son. When his former colleague
Lejla (Zutic) informs him of a new
director, who pays handsomely, Milos takes the plunge and agrees to work for
Vukmir (Trifunovic).
However, as Milos finds himself partaking, and witnessing, increasing levels of
depravity he is sucked into a world governed by violence and torture.

While writer director Spasojevic
implies that A Serbian Film is a commentary on the state of the country in
which “In order to live a normal life you must become a prostitute” this
idea is never highlighted in the narrative. Instead the film’s ‘message’ is
conveyed in an introduction by the director himself. In fact his intro on this
DVD is probably the most interesting insight into why the film came into
existence at all. It has nothing to do with his reasoning’s but rather his
determination to insult those who would find such a film offensive, which is
surely most of the human population, at least those not committed to padded
cells.

The point of such a film is to evoke a reaction and to
this extent A Serbian Film is a resounding success
. With its brutal portrayal of such horrors as a new
born baby being raped, a man killing another with his erection and a father
raping not only his wife but also his young son, while drugged on Ketamine, it
is abundantly clear the film is trying to shock more than anything.

Given the right themes and a
strong enough message a film of this ilk does find merit. Such films as Michael
Haneke’s Funny Games (1997 and 2007) illustrates the modern audiences’ immunity
to screen violence through using it to violent levels. But, and this is where A
Serbian Film falters to unforgivable levels, Spasojevic has no such intent. Instead
he seems adamant to bombard the senses with images that will traumatize for no
other reason than sadism
.

What makes this all the more
frustrating is that much of A Serbian Film is well shot and executed. The
visuals are reminiscent of David Fincher’s Se7en (1995) with its wash-out
looked and gritty realism. That it sucks you in so efficiently with its
style only makes the later pillaging of your mind all the more unforgivable
.
There are even moments, dream sequences and flash-backs in particular, that are
on a par with David Lynch’ best montages and imagery that is familiar to Lost
Highway (1997) and Mulholland Drive (2001). Had Spasojevic used the master
of the macabre and nightmare as his muse A Serbian Film could have been a very
different beast, one that implies trauma and allows the audience’s imagination
to run riot with such implications, rather than force feeding it to us in the
style of a desperate to die goose on the eve of foie gras
.

Todorovic excels in the lead
role and it is through his wasted expression and dead eyes that we are dragged,
kicking and screaming, into the deplorable mess. Considering the aggressive
onslaughts he must have faced making this film he warrants mention as one of
the more redeeming things on offer.

Suffice to say that for much of its running time A
Serbian Film is all mouth and no trousers before descending into being all
trousers and no brain
. With
visuals this good and ideas this offensive and barbaric, it is a film that,
like a sexually transmitted disease, will infect your mind and potentially set
the rot of intelligent, but controversially intelligent, filmmaking. Avoid
it like the plague unless morbid fascination takes hold, if that is the case
you have been warned.


Alex Moss Editor

 
Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com