Friday, 7 January 2011

A SERBIAN FILM DVD review

Out now on DVD is this new horror, set within the dark recesses of the Serbian porn industry.
If you dare, check out the trailer and read my review, next...





Milos, a retired porn star short on cash, is lured back into the industry for one last job that could leave him and his family comfortable for many years. The project is very secretive, filmed in an abandoned orphanage and a mansion belonging to the director, Vukmir (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Non from Superman 2). Milos starts to become suspicious about the film and the audience it's being made for, but when he tries to leave, Vukmir and his heavies track him down and force him to perform.


A Serbian Film film comes with a heavy warning from me. This film is vile and disgusting, and probably shouldn't be seen by anyone. There's nothing more graphic on show then what you'd see in actual pornography, but it's in the ideas it displays where it truly disturbs. It goes far beyond mere snuff fantasy, and visits some extremely dark, immoral subject matters.


On the DVD the director has chosen to provide a little introduction to the film, and boy, does he not have a cheery outlook on life. He's obviously quite pissed off that the BBFC enforced cuts to this film (4 minutes 12 seconds to be exact), but when I heard what that scene was, I'm not surprised it was cut. When watching the film, it's clear which segment has been removed, and I'm glad I didn't have to subject my eyes to that, as it's disturbing enough an idea without the visual. The director claims that this film is about challenging censorship, but I don't really see that. What it does do is challenge our beliefs in humanity, reducing people down to hate-filled meat bags with orifices.


If that last sentence left you with a nasty taste in your mouth, that's nothing on the experience of watching the film. I'm trying to be clear that this isn't an enjoyable experience in any way, and don't want to over sell it. This isn't some Human Centipede type curiosity that you can talk and laugh about with your friends. This takes the darkest outcomes you could ever dare imagine and puts them up on screen for your entertainment.


Well, in the last act at least. The first third of the film is mind-crushingly dull, showing us the mundane life of Milos, sat at home watching his old porn tapes (which he has no problem showing to his young son). You might expect some titillation from this, but we're just watching a man, watching himself have sex. This may say something about the voyeuristic nature of cinema, but if it does I'm sure it was an accident.


In what I'm sure is a bitter irony for the director, where this film does succeed is in its editing. As Milos slowly descends into madness, there's some nightmarish quick cut editing that perfectly expresses his mental state, and as the film heads towards its vile finale (like The Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up on acid), the film's structure loosens up and opens a world of narrative possibilities.


I'm still unsure as to how much artistic merit this film carries. It may be able to provoke debate, but it's just as likely to incite violence. I don't want to get all Daily Mail on you, but you have to wonder about the creative minds behind this film. This would be an interesting film to watch in a Film Studies class, but I'd wager is just too unpalatable to find a large audience.


A Serbian Film definitely manages to disturb and disgust the viewer, but I can't say I left the experience with a greater outlook on censorship. One thing's for sure, the BBFC were 100% right to demand cuts to the film. It's an experience like no other that tears open the boundaries of taste and decency, and must be the most damaging thing to happen to the Serbian tourism industry since Slobodan Milosevic.


Verdict

1 comment:

  1. As much as I don't like this film I still feel it is one of the most fascinating movies released in 2010. No other film of that year can compare to what this film brings to the screen.

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