Wednesday, 14 September 2011

REVIEW: A Serbian Film

One of the most depraved films of recent years has shocked the world and, at the very least, put the Serbian film industry (who knew they had one?) on the map.

It's a clever move calling it A Serbian Film. For sheer marketing reasons, it is out-there enough to put Serbia at the front of the torture-porn thing that has settled somewhat now, and it will forever stand alone as that film from Serbia, A Serbian Film. What the people of Serbia might say about this film standing up for their country is redundant and it doesn't make Serbia look like an amazing place to live, though there does seem to be an infinite number of hot women, so can't be all bad.

The film is about an ex-porn star who is brought back into the business by the promise of huge amounts of money. The first hour you can see things aren't looking good in this weird porn film he's agreed to star in, but for that first hour it slowly sets the scene until the final act where all hell breaks loose.

Though a lot of people would say this has been made purely for shock value, it could in fact be viewed as quite a strong social commentary. The crazed director in the film would mirror what people would think of director Srdjan Spasojevic - arguing that all the horrid ordeals he's putting them through is 'art', that there is a finesse to this grotesque horror. We all know that it is in fact not art at all which could also be applied to the film itself making it completely self-aware. However, there's a bit more going on then just torture-porn.

The idea of a 'happy Serbian family' and it's violent history, the way it literally fucks themselves over, it's lack of identity, the idea of the rich controlling the poor and taking away more than just their dignity. The notion that the rich and powerful make brothers fight, families go against each other and that there's no sense of unity. This isn't surprising since it's only just become a stand-alone sovereign republic since 2006 when it separated from Montenegro marking the end of Yugoslavia (thanks Wikipedia). It's also a commentary on it's apprehension with Western, often sexualised, influences in what was a Communist environment. By feeling so restricted, they have gone off the deep end into pure Western freedom - 'free fucking' as they call it in the film.

Anyway, that's enough serious stuff. I have to say that, in a completely non-depraved way, I enjoyed the film. The bleached out colours, the way everything was shot, it's relentless assault on your human condition, the characters and the general plot all serve to be quite a strangely entertaining film. As regular readers might know, I'm a big fan of the slow-burn beginnings if the pay-out is amazing - and you can't say the payout here wasn't intense. There are a couple of stupid bits and pieces that don't make sense, but to be bold and brave enough to deal with necrophilia, (extreme) paedophilia, incest, rape and the idea of just fucking anything and taking it to such extreme levels is astonishing. Even though it's quite horrific to watch, I did find it funny. I'm sorry but killing a guy by driving your boner through his eye and into his brain is nothing to be sniffed at (it is literally quite an eyeful). It has numerous scenes that if spread out across several films, would still make those films the top of disgust, even if nothing else happened. Yet here, they've rolled it all into one fairly decent package.

If none of this shocks you in any way, then you might need to see someone because it really goes off into the extremes of the psyche. However, you cannot take it seriously. The last line of the whole film for instance, I couldn't help but laugh out loud at. After having quite a serious ending, a five minute sequence or so of silent reflection, to end in such a manner is pure genius.

A lot of people will view this film and think it's just a disgusting piece of shit. It's not exactly something you can take someone to on a first date or sit with mum and dad and watch, but if you, like me, are one of those people that joke about disgusting, sick stuff, you'll love this. Otherwise if you like horror films, it doesn't go for the scare, it just pleases to shock.

Keep an open mind and you'll enjoy. I guarantee you that you'll be talking about it for the rest of your life.

Rating: 8/10

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