A SERBIAN FILM-Serbia-104 Mins. 2010
Directed by Srdjan Spasojevic
Screenplay by Aleksandar Radivojevic and Srdjan Spasojevic
I watched A Serbian Film early Sunday morning. This seems to be a good time to watch movies. Everyone is asleep and I can put my headphones on and drink beer and enjoy the movie. Enjoy; enjoy is a strong word and an erroneous one to use when it comes to A Serbian Film. Its 6:29 on Sunday morning and I am still trying to process what I saw.
A Serbian Film tears me down the middle. On one hand I find it to be offensive, brutal, sadistic and misogynistic filmmaking. On the other, I see it as brilliant, horrifying and unflinching on all levels. Is it art? Is it pornography? Is it a simulated snuff film? I believe the answer to all of those questions would be a resounding yes…and no. It is all and nothing of the three. It’s a masterpiece that will assault your senses and make you long for a steaming shower.
At the beginning of the film a six year-old boy sits on a couch watching a pornographic video. It’s no surprise that the child is seeing this; the actor in the film is his father, Milos, a now semi-retired porn actor in his homeland of Serbia. From conversation heard throughout the film we learn that Milos was a legend in blue cinema due to his ability to not only make himself erect without stimulation but also to keep erect and to seemingly never tire of endless fornication. Think Dirk Diggler with a foreign accent. Milos is concerned about his son seeing his films. His wife Marija is also concerned; she is also aware that their financial future is an uncertain one. When Milos is propositioned by former co-star Lejla to make one more film for Vukmir, an independent, ‘visionary’ pornographer and is offered an amount of money that will keep his family financially secure for the rest of their lives it is a hard offer to pass up. Vukmir wants him in his film for his gifted appendage and tells him nothing about the plot. This would normally be the time that any person with common sense would say ‘thanks, but no thanks’ and then walk away. Milos accepts, however, and soon comes to regret his decision in ways that he could have never imagined.
I expected A Serbian Film to be brutal and bloody and it is. I knew before I watched the film that there would be one particular scene involving the rape of a newborn and there is; although thankfully it appears the part has been edited for viewing here in the United States. A Serbian Film has elements of snuff, child pornography, bestiality, rape, self-mutilation, necrophilia and murder. There is decapitation, asphyxiation by fellating, bludgeoning. Despite these things I cannot deny that it is an expertly crafted piece of cinema. Srdjan Todorovic and Sergej Trifunovic are fantastic in their roles as Milos and Vukmir. The film unfolds its brutality slowly, adding more blood, more gore and more depravity from one scene to the next.
Ultimately, despite the fact that I praise A Serbian Film I cannot in good conscience recommend it. I find myself so torn by the film that I’m not giving it the traditional 0 to 5 blood drops that I use as my system of rating. What I will say is that if and when you do decide to watch A Serbian Film then know this: you may love it or you may hate it; there is absolutely no possibility that you will forget it, ever.
Holds a record of 19 minutes of cuts in the United States in order to achieve an NC-17 rating.
Banned in Norway on account of sexual representation of children and extreme violence in a fictional medium. One of the few modern day movies to be banned in the country since Ichi The Killer (2001)_ and Grotesque (2009).
The film was banned in Brazil but was supposed to be legally screened for the first time in the city of Maceió, Alagoas on a special Cine Sesi dawn screening in October 1, 2011; However, the company was forbidden to exhibit it by a legal action only a day before the screening.
Shot in 61 days in locations of Belgrade, Serbia.
Srdjan Todorovic also appears in Black Cat, White Cat and Underground.
Sergej Trifunovic also appears in Next and When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Kangaroo.
Jelena Gavrilovic (Marija) also appears in Cat Run and Human Zoo.
Katarina Zutic (Lejla) also appears in Sky Hook and The Robbery of the Third Reich.