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A Serbian Film - Retired Adult film star does one last job


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I know the context and medium is a little different, but I'm reading Let The Right One In at the moment and it has its fair share of disturbing obscenity. This has become a best-selling book and has had a film adaptation with a second one upcoming (albeit minus that which makes the book so unnerving).

A Serbian Film, on the other hand, seems to attract nothing but horror and disgust. Has it really gone too far or is it possibly just that the story doesn't really justify the sensible inclusion of such scenes because it's all just shock tactics?

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The problem with using shock tactics in a film like this is that your primary audience eg a hardcore subset of horror and extreme cinema afficionados are unlikely to be particularly shocked by the scenes of depravity, at least not in any meaningful sense that elucidates the particular subtext the film-makers have in mind, which I believe is something about the government fucking over Serbian citizens. The mainstream horror audience, when hearing about some of the stuff that goes on in the movie, is likely to be turned off by the remarkably extreme nature of the violence and not bother going to see it.

Then you have the arthouse crowd who, if told about a film that details the aforementioned political troubles in Serbia, may have an interest in seeing it but will probably, again, be turned off by the infamous scenes of nastiness. Finally you have the mainstream movie-going public who probably wouldn't go to see the film anyway and a certain subsection of that who will be outraged and maybe even call for it to be banned or worse, like the kind of idiots who spit at strangers in the street and make death threats.

Essentially, by turning their concerns into a torture-porn flick, the movie becomes clouded in controversy, becomes known as 'that film with that scene' and any message behind the movie is lost in a sea of intestines and spunk.

All of which is purely hypothetical and entirely made up off my own head, so if things turn out differently then I'll be pleasantly surprised. I don't particularly want to see this movie though, I have a weak constitution.

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Great reply! :hat:

I was thinking that the generally pornographic approach would weaken the point of the film by way of reducing the allegory to absurdity. When you think of torture porn you think of SAW and Hostel and the like, and they're about as vapid and senseless as your typical action-packed summer blockbuster. Like Transformers. Compare that to, say, Let The Right One In, which mingles all the nastiness with an innocent child romance - and manages to use it as a device to play with your emotions - and I suppose to all but the niche market you described A Serbian Film is just controversial for the sake of it.

There must be a cross-section of these audiences that shows vehement protesters against A Serbian Film may have previously enjoyed a similarly horrible but altogether more wholesome affair, although I should probably not think about that too much without having seen the bloody film.

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There is an interview with the director in this month's Empire. He's eloquent and interesting, and talks more sense than anyone else regarding this film. :shock:

Describe the plot for the uninitiated.

To secure money for his family, a retired porn star plunges again into the depths of hardcore production, only this time, his diabolical employer has unthinkable terrors in store.

Where did the idea come from?

The initial idea came from a screenwriter, Aleksandar Radivojevic, and through our exhausting conversations about horrible real-life cases happening in Serbia, and our desire to capture our feelings about today's world in general, it developed into a metaphorical vortex of ideas.

So why is it called a Serbian Film?

It's a very direct but multilayered title. The exact reason is placed within the film, but there are other meanings. It is about Serbia's perverse need to be nationally exploited by its lunatic leaders, but it's also about the free world's craving for compassion porn. It is satirical take on the product you expect from us. The honest, emotional product that we give you here, A Serbian Film, is surprisingly something that you can barely take.

So this is a political allegory...

The major allegorical take was to treat real life as pornography. In order to lead a normal life in our country, or any country, you have to become a prostitute and sell your soul and ass in the name of feeding your family. You are raped from birth, and the raping doesn't stop even after you're dead. For you it may sound like torture porn, but to us, its sounds like our life.

You have also said that it's about the "fascism of political correctness"...

The artistic authority of today works through political correctness. Nowadays in Eastern Europe you cannot get a film financed unless you have a pathetic and heart warming "true story" to tell about some poor lost refugee girls with matchsticks who end up as victims of war, famine and intolerance. Then you make a false, romanticised story about the victim and sell it as real life. That is real pornography and manipulation. It is spiritual violence. In our film, we show it for what is really is.

Is it fair to say your film is controversial?

Everything is called "controversial" nowadays. It's controversial to swear or smoke. Soon it will be controversial to go to church unshaven.

Do you expect any trouble getting getting you film distributed?

Today's world is schizophrenic in so many ways, it's impossible to know which laws are dominant on every ten miles of the planet, so I have no idea what we can expect in certain regions. We have already been faced with unbelievable obstacles in the Munich film lab, where they refused to print our film because of its content. They apparently thought it was a real snuff film.

How would defend the film against those who say it goes too far?

It's almost inappropriate for me to talk on the level of "too far". What does that mean? What was "too far" 20 years ago is now considered daring and classic. Art (life) has become sterilised, filmmakers (people) are chickening out of dealing with the traumas of their own time. We have decided to face the beasts of our own time - if they go too far, we follow them.

Are there films you find shocking?

There should be no term "shocking" in art. Shock is for grannies with baskets full of puppies. Art should have a mission to push boundaries and expand the limits of perception. There are no films too shocking, only too uninteresting.

Also, on the next page is the horror film Rubber about a killer tyre which I did not know was directed by musician Mr Oizo!

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I'm disappointed but not really surprised that Film4 aren't showing this any more, especially in the 9pm timeslot they had it down for. Why couldn't they have moved it to a midnight slot and aired it with very few/no cuts?

Anyway, I guess I'll just have to download it. I know most who have seen it haven't liked it, but I've always been fascinated by these kinds of 'extreme' genre movies and from what I've read/heard about this, it's one of the more extreme movies of recent times.

I Spit On Your Grave 2010 will screen, but with 17 cuts made.

Will this be airing during Frightfest or at a later date?

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There is an interview with the director in this month's Empire. He's eloquent and interesting, and talks more sense than anyone else regarding this film. :shock:

...

Where did the idea come from?

The initial idea came from a screenwriter, Aleksandar Radivojevic, and through our exhausting conversations about horrible real-life cases happening in Serbia, and our desire to capture our feelings about today's world in general, it developed into a metaphorical vortex of ideas.

So why is it called a Serbian Film?

It's a very direct but multilayered title. The exact reason is placed within the film, but there are other meanings. It is about Serbia's perverse need to be nationally exploited by its lunatic leaders, but it's also about the free world's craving for compassion porn. It is satirical take on the product you expect from us. The honest, emotional product that we give you here, A Serbian Film, is surprisingly something that you can barely take.

So this is a political allegory...

The major allegorical take was to treat real life as pornography. In order to lead a normal life in our country, or any country, you have to become a prostitute and sell your soul and ass in the name of feeding your family. You are raped from birth, and the raping doesn't stop even after you're dead. For you it may sound like torture porn, but to us, its sounds like our life.

...

Well, if you can glean this kind of statement from the film without having to read an interview with the director then it should be a pretty successful* work of art.

*Not necessarily in monetary terms.

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Also, on the next page is the horror film Rubber about a killer tyre which I did not know was directed by musician Mr Oizo!

A tyre that becomes sentient, realises he has psychic powers and falls in love with a woman. A must see. Also, Oizo soundtrack... :wub:

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I watched this tonight with my brother. The first forty five minutes were, I thought, a really interesting build up. After that most of it was pretty vile, of course, but it so vile it was farcical and so anything that I'd felt or thought about the film up to then ended up meaning nothing. I even laughed at loud at the ridiculousness of some of the scenes. It was horror, in that it was horrible, but that's about as far as I could take it. What is was was thinking of the most sick, twisted, depraved shit any number of us have thought of in the past and putting it on film.

As the slightly amusing aside, my brother got up off the couch some ten minutes before the end of the film as he wasn't feeling too well, what with a mixture of the film, junk food and perhaps a little too much weed and, adding that all up to quite low blood pressure, promptly fainted in the bathroom with a loud banging. And then fainted again when he got up to move back onto the couch. The big wuss.

No but really he's okay.

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Alan Jones who runs frightfest is a friend of mine and he said that they've received death threats and he has been spat on in the street by people who don't want it shown.

The irony of these sorts of actions always seems to escape the idiot scum who do them.

Also, having read this thread now, wow Blunkett went all Daily Mail, eh? So angry!

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There is an interview with the director in this month's Empire. He's eloquent and interesting, and talks more sense than anyone else regarding this film. :shock:

Describe the plot for the uninitiated.

To secure money for his family, a retired porn star plunges again into the depths of hardcore production, only this time, his diabolical employer has unthinkable terrors in store.

Where did the idea come from?

The initial idea came from a screenwriter, Aleksandar Radivojevic, and through our exhausting conversations about horrible real-life cases happening in Serbia, and our desire to capture our feelings about today's world in general, it developed into a metaphorical vortex of ideas.

So why is it called a Serbian Film?

It's a very direct but multilayered title. The exact reason is placed within the film, but there are other meanings. It is about Serbia's perverse need to be nationally exploited by its lunatic leaders, but it's also about the free world's craving for compassion porn. It is satirical take on the product you expect from us. The honest, emotional product that we give you here, A Serbian Film, is surprisingly something that you can barely take.

So this is a political allegory...

The major allegorical take was to treat real life as pornography. In order to lead a normal life in our country, or any country, you have to become a prostitute and sell your soul and ass in the name of feeding your family. You are raped from birth, and the raping doesn't stop even after you're dead. For you it may sound like torture porn, but to us, its sounds like our life.

You have also said that it's about the "fascism of political correctness"...

The artistic authority of today works through political correctness. Nowadays in Eastern Europe you cannot get a film financed unless you have a pathetic and heart warming "true story" to tell about some poor lost refugee girls with matchsticks who end up as victims of war, famine and intolerance. Then you make a false, romanticised story about the victim and sell it as real life. That is real pornography and manipulation. It is spiritual violence. In our film, we show it for what is really is.

Honestly. The "When you get a job you become a prostitute for THE MAN" is sub'sixth formers with black marker pen down their arms' political anger. To show this by just having some horrific sex scenes lacks any kind of vision or imagination.

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This guy talks a lot of sense. Particularly these bits:

Is it fair to say your film is controversial?

Everything is called "controversial" nowadays. It's controversial to swear or smoke. Soon it will be controversial to go to church unshaven.

How would defend the film against those who say it goes too far?

It's almost inappropriate for me to talk on the level of "too far". What does that mean? What was "too far" 20 years ago is now considered daring and classic. Art (life) has become sterilised, filmmakers (people) are chickening out of dealing with the traumas of their own time. We have decided to face the beasts of our own time - if they go too far, we follow them.

Are there films you find shocking?

There should be no term "shocking" in art. Shock is for grannies with baskets full of puppies. Art should have a mission to push boundaries and expand the limits of perception. There are no films too shocking, only too uninteresting.

He's summed up nicely a level of thinking that I've seen evidenced on here quite often - and in this thread, of course!

Honestly. The "When you get a job you become a prostitute for THE MAN" is sub'sixth formers with black marker pen down their arms' political anger. To show this by just having some horrific sex scenes lacks any kind of vision or imagination.

You've seen the film then, TAR?

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Then you see the problem.

It's fair enough to criticise the guy's view of the capitalist system, but to then criticise how he has artistically rendered it without actually having seen it is 'Jerry Springer: The Opera' territory.

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It is kind of difficult to reach any sort of agreement with the director in that interview. He'd have been better off saying nothing. Why does he feel the need to explain the film? It's nowhere near as intelligent as he'd like to believe, and it only pushes boundaries in a genre generally regarded as teen fodder anyway.

It's a shame because it sounds as though he has some good ideas, and feels the need to set the record straight and be true to Serbias history. Sadly he doesn't achieve it in this movie.

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It is kind of difficult to reach any sort of agreement with the director in that interview. He'd have been better off saying nothing. Why does he feel the need to explain the film?

One would assume because the interviewer is asking him questions about it.

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There should be no term "shocking" in art. Shock is for grannies with baskets full of puppies. Art should have a mission to push boundaries and expand the limits of perception. There are no films too shocking, only too uninteresting.

I like this comment, because it's quite true. You can go as far as you like with violence and taboo and usually the only thing that stops them being worthwhile is the poor execution. Like The Human Centipede. The concept was more horrific than the result put on paper, which was just dire.

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I like this comment, because it's quite true. You can go as far as you like with violence and taboo and usually the only thing that stops them being worthwhile is the poor execution. Like The Human Centipede. The concept was more horrific than the result put on paper, which was just dire.

It usually is and I think it's largely the case with A Serbian Film although it's a much, much more accomplished piece of film than Centipede which is an utter heap of shit however you examine it.

One of the problems for me right from the start of this film is that, ironically, it felt censored and a little bit tame. Why? There is no penetration throughout the movie whatsoever. Now that mind sound a daft point overall to pick fault with, but more than once in the movie we watch Milos as he watches past performces of himself in his old hardcore porn days on video cassettes. Now, I don't know about anyone else, but every bit of hardcore porn I've ever seen doesn't shy away from showing us genitalia and for a film which has already become notorious for a scene in which a man rapes a baby - it just feels odd that not to show it - and in my opinion, considering the context of the movie - an allegory for the Serbian Government fucking its people - it would have made it a much more powerful piece of work.

In that respect something like Baise Moi feels more authentic, but fails in other ways.

That BBFC ruling is daft. The only people who will go and watch this are gonna be arthouse fans and the like, and they deserve to watch this film uncut. You know, these are the people who basically keep the bloody industry going and now they're pretty much forcing them to settle for the download.

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No it's not subtle at all but it is very, very angry and bitter. It does pack a pretty powerful punch emotionally but it doesn't seem all too focussed on what it is actually trying to say either as a result of all that anger. In that sense it does feel pretty heartfelt and I can only feel pity for the Serbian people if they felt so trapped and ignored to the point where they make that. And it's a theme which runs closely in another recent movie from Serbia too - The Life and Death of A Porno Gang.

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Oh they're definitely aiming to shock, but the villain in the movie does offer an explanation why.

I think it tries to be something it's not - "A Serbian Film" - as though it's making some grand statement about the country and its recent history, some kind of definitive statement.

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  • 3 months later...

I saw this yesterday at the cinema and although "enjoyed" it is as an experience, it is by quite a distance the most disturbing and relentlessly squalid film I've ever seen. There's scenes from it I'm not sure I'll ever scrub from my mind. You can see there has been a fair chunk edited as mentioned earlier in the thread, although all the scenes mentioned previously in here are shown;

the baby rape is clearly censored quite a bit, with most of it in reaction shots and sounds whilst you only really see the aftermath of the scene where the woman gets her teeth removed. The most disturbed part I felt was him unknowingly raping his son, which just from the sounds alone was beyond fucked up

.

I'm not sure what I make of it really - it's better than any of the torture porn nonsense I've seen and it's a film you really need to see at the cinema I'd say. It's been batting around my mind since watching but the final 30 minutes or so are so disquieting that's it's hard to recommend - the final line alone turned my stomach a little and I'm sure that I'd have a wildly more negative view of it if I had kids of my own.

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I saw this yesterday at the cinema and although "enjoyed" it is as an experience, it is by quite a distance the most disturbing and relentlessly squalid film I've ever seen. There's scenes from it I'm not sure I'll ever scrub from my mind. You can see there has been a fair chunk edited as mentioned earlier in the thread, although all the scenes mentioned previously in here are shown;

the baby rape is clearly censored quite a bit, with most of it in reaction shots and sounds whilst you only really see the aftermath of the scene where the woman gets her teeth removed. The most disturbed part I felt was him unknowingly raping his son, which just from the sounds alone was beyond fucked up

.

I'm not sure what I make of it really - it's better than any of the torture porn nonsense I've seen and it's a film you really need to see at the cinema I'd say. It's been batting around my mind since watching but the final 30 minutes or so are so disquieting that's it's hard to recommend - the final line alone turned my stomach a little and I'm sure that I'd have a wildly more negative view of it if I had kids of my own.

You really should download the uncensored version. It is obviously more graphic but the thought of what happens is worse than the reality of what you see.

Personally I found the bit where you twig who he's buggering was worse than the obvious bit that it's infamous for. You don't actually see him buggering his son, you just see that he's buggering someone then it's revealed who it is. Same with the newborn porn bit - you don't see penetration cos that would be too close to actual child porn.

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