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Monday, January 19, 2015

Taboo Films: A Serbian Film

SERBIAN
A Serbian Film - Serbian

Since we are in a bit of a swoon when it comes to new films to start 2015, I felt it only appropriate to start a new series of films covering some of the more notorious and taboo films to be released. I tried to do something like this about a year ago, sometime around Christmas, but the idea lost steam, mainly because watching a lot of these types of films is a grueling and not all around pleasant experience. So here I am again, trying this again, and I figured if I was going to go all in I might as well start with one of the more notorious film in recent years, 2010's "A Serbian Film," a film that is so Serbian it might turn you Serbian.

So, "A Serbian Film" stars Milos, a former porn star who now has a wife and a young son. As money is slowly dwindling away, Milos decides to take a mysterious offer from a man named Vukmir. With the deal sealed, Milos begins his work with Vukmir which starts "innocently"with standard porno fare, but things begin to take a dark turn as the days progress, including a two-day period where Milos must re-track his steps after passing out and waking up in his own bed covered in blood.

Let me put this out there; "Serbian" is sick, disgusting, and extremely exploitative, but while it is a pretty reprehensible film, that doesn't mean it doesn't have a point. According to director, Srdjan Spasojevic, the film is supposed to represent the way that the Serbian government has fu*ked it's people over for decades. and Spasojevic means fu*ked. "Serbian" goes beyond what most people, even with the worst of taste, would be in a film. There is murder, necrophilia, pedophilia, incest, and literal skull fu*king throughout the film's "edited" 99 minute run time. I mention edited because the film needed to be edited down an extra 19 minutes just to be suited for an NC-17 rating. Not many directors have to cut that much just to make a film barely viewable for a super select audience.

In the vein of films like "Salo," "Martyrs" "Irreversible" and "Cannibal Holocaust," "Serbian" is a shock to the system. However, what I will say about it, is that similar to "Irreversible" and other films of that ilk, it's shot very expertly and looks incredibly sharp. While the imagery will surely disturb you, that isn't to stay that the film looks bad.  Aside from the photography, the acting is also fairly decent. Srdjan Todorovic, who plays Milos, gives a convincing performance as a man who is still living in his own shadow while trying to provide for a family under extremely harsh conditions.

I wish there was more to write about this film, but it really just boils down to the fact that people will either seek this film out to watch, or avoid it entirely. I believe that any part of a well-rounded film diet consists of equal parts film and trash. And again, I'm not calling "A Serbian Film" trash, even though I'm sure many people will see it that way, and yes, duly noted, its an extreme film and features very graphic imagery that will put a lot of people off, but so did "The Passion of the Christ." While I don't whole-heartedly recommend "A Serbian Film" I do think it's a film experience that might make you "Hmm, why are films like this being made if not just for exploitation purposes. There has to be another reason." Whether there is another reason of not, it's still a film worthy of your time, either for sick curiosity, film experience, or just that challenge of watching "rough cinema."

"Fun" Fact: "A Serbian Film" was in fact shot in Serbia, over the course of 61 days.

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