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From What Dark, Evil Recesses of the Soul Did This Movie Emerge?

  • May 16, 2011
Rating:
+1
Star Rating:


When I say that you shouldn’t see A Serbian Film, my sincerest hope is that you will not interpret my words as reverse psychology. I'm dead serious in my assertion that you must avoid this pointless, disgusting, nihilistic, morally bankrupt film. At all costs. It’s a film I not only regret having seen, but also regret thinking about seeing. I should have listened to the critics who have almost universally panned it – including A.O. Scott, Karina Longworth, Peter Bradshaw, and Christopher Null – but I didn’t. Now I’m urging you to listen to me and not make the same mistake I made. If that makes me sound like a corny Lemony Snicket wannabe, well, there’s not much I can do about that. I’d rather sound like the author of A Series of Unfortunate Events than raise my voice in defense of this film, which would put me in the same depressing minority as Harry Knowles and Scott Weinberg.
 
From what dark, evil recesses of the soul did this movie emerge? On what terms am I suppose to accept it? At the end of 2010, when I included The Human Centipede (First Sequence) on my list of the year’s worst films, I received the following comment in protest: “What that man has created is a truly talked about, controversial, imaginative and unique film unlike anything anyone has ever seen before. How can you call that bad?” What this person is telling me is that a film is a work of art by virtue of its originality – even if it happens to tell the story of a mad scientist who surgically joins people mouth to anus. On this, we can agree. After all, art is subjective. But the commenter is making another assertion: Because the film is a work of art, that means it’s automatically good. I cannot accept this argument. Originality does not equal greatness by default.

                                           
                                             
And with that, I return to A Serbian Film, which certainly is “original” in the way it shocked and disturbed me. It would not be enough to call it exploitation; with its extreme sexual content, relentless violence, excessive gore, and graphic depictions of rape, pedophilia, and necrophilia, it’s a heartless exercise in depravity. It tells the story of Milos (Srdan Todorovic), a semi-retired porn star. He’s married to a beautiful woman. He adores his young son – who’s introduced as he watches one of his father’s movies on DVD, his expression deadpan. There will be a few instances when the kid describes the funny feeling he gets watching those movies, which he likens to wheels spinning in his nether regions. Milos tells him that, when the wheels spin, he must try and catch them, or something along those suggestive lines. Did I forget to mention that his son is five, maybe six years old?
 
In spite of his happy family life, he’s strapped for cash. Here enters Lejla (Katarina Zutic), Milos’ former costar known for her beastiality; aware that he wants to secure his family’s financial future, she offers him the chance to star in a new art film from a director known only as Vukmir (Sergej Trifunovic), an independently wealthy and well-connected pornographic filmmaker. Although he remains suspiciously vague on specifics, including the content of the film and what Milos’ role will be, his offer is enticing, financially speaking. Within no time, Milos is being driven to an orphanage, where he will be given an earpiece and be instructed on where to go and what to do. All the while, a camera crew will be following him, recording his every action.

                                           
                                             
Scene after scene of explicit sexual perversions make up the rest of the film. All of it is repugnant, but specific scenes are so relentlessly indecent that they call into question the mental state of the filmmakers – and the critics that gave this movie a positive review. Consider an example of what Vukmir calls Newborn Porn, which is projected on a screen for Milos to watch. A naked woman on a metal slab graphically gives birth, and a man wearing latex gloves and a muscle shirt is there to grab the placenta-coated child by the feet, slap its behind, and get it to start crying. The man immediately proceeds to rape the newborn, and we have to endure its inhuman cries of pain. Have I spoiled this for you? I don’t care. If you’re seriously considering seeing this movie, you deserve to know the extremes to which it goes.
 
Other visual atrocities pollute the screen, including a woman who’s decapitated as Milos has sex with her – and he continues to go at it even as blood sprays from the neck wound. At a certain point, Milos will awaken, bloody and beaten, unsure of how he got to where he is and what led up to him being there; pieces fall into place through a series of grotesque flashback sequences and stolen tape recordings, all of which prominently feature barren rooms with blood-smeared beds. And then there’s a final rape scene so filthy that it almost made me sick. When it was finally over and the credits started rolling, I felt unclean, emotionally drained, and deeply offended. Perhaps that was the point. Bravo. Even if it is “art,” I still believe that A Serbian Film is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. It will be interesting to read comments from those who think I’m dead wrong. I expect them to begin with the Human Centipede fan.

                                              

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September 16, 2012
I tried to be as open-minded as possible in my review for this one. Check it out if you get the chance (and of course if you want to).
September 16, 2012
I read it and left a comment.
 
August 05, 2011
This movie sounds totally disgusting, depraved and just plain sickening. Thank you for sharing this - I can not believe anyone would find this film to be considered "art" and to put scenes in a film that can sicken the viewer, such as newborn rape, is beyond being depraved; I got sick just reading your review! Thanks again for the warning Chris.
 
May 20, 2011
You're review suggests that anyone who likes ASF should have their brain checked as they're clearly a special mental case. On the same token, you've expressed that originality does not make a film good especially if it sickens the viewer. If this be the case, then there are countless films that were made long before A Serbian Film which should be labeled total disasters & we should all be ashamed of ourselves for wanting to see them or having seen them. Better yet, we should seek mental help immediately simply because we appreciate the artistry or the message of the film? I'm not quite sure I can agree with you when films like Saving Private Ryan & Passion of the Christ were both quite graphic yet were praised by critics & movie goers everywhere.
May 25, 2011
I don't think Chris meant for his review to be taken that way, bro. But I will see how I react to this movie this coming Memorial Day...wow! what a movie to see for Memorial day!
 
May 16, 2011
whoa. Quite an enthralling review...but admittedly, I have this movie in my pile of TBW; I was just waiting for the right moment after I got the film. I dunno, I have to say your review has the reverse effect on me in a way...since I can get very curious. Sounds like this may be one of those movies that may shock me and I won't be entertained by it at all. Another movie that shocked me before was SALO. I understood what it was to be, but there was no way in hell that I could really give it a recommendation. Excellent review. I will let you know if I do get to see this...question is: shall I put it on the top of my unwatched pile or at the bottom? We shall see....sometimes being a lover of cinema, I just have to see this....we'll see how I react since I have seen quite a number of sick sh!+....thanks! I am featruing this review....
May 16, 2011
Your comment has made it clear that I've failed in my objective. Reverse psychology can be a damn nuisance sometimes, and in this case, it was unintentional. I truly do not see what will be gained by you, or anyone, seeing this movie. There is no artistic or symbolic reason for its depravity. It's just pure, unadulterated exploitation, made with the sole intention of shocking and offending the audience. Even Tim Anderson of Bloody Disgusting, a site known for its promotion of horror movies, dissuaded people from seeing it. And I think he said it best: "If what I have written here is enough to turn your feelings of wonder into a burning desire to watch this monstrosity, then perhaps I haven't been clear enough. You don't want to see Serbian Film. You just think you do." I think that's where you are now. You only think you want to see this movie.
May 16, 2011
Yeah. There are some movies that I know I won't like but I just have to see it. @ got me curious so I'll let you know what my reaction is. Someone sent me the copy anyway just so I can review it and see it, but I put it on the backburner since I wasn't feeling it. Yeah, I am pretty much in that mindset...I think I want to see this movie, but I know I want to see it since it turned off a lot of people. Did you see in theaters or an unrated dvd?
May 16, 2011
I saw it in theaters, where it was rated NC-17 (L.A. is pretty good about showing independent films). I don't care how much different the unrated DVD version is. No power on earth can make me watch this movie again.
May 17, 2011
I just thought I'd ask. I heard there was a rated-R cut circulating somewhere...let's see how much I can take! Just thought I'd ask, seen SALO? That stands (to date) as one of the most shocking films I've seen...even the director got assassinated for his work.
May 17, 2011
I have not seen Salo, but I've heard about it. I'm not sure I want to see it.
May 25, 2011
I bought the Criterion release after it had come out. Another disturbing and shocking film I saw is Philosophy of a Knife; and it is even more disturbing since it was based on an actual event. A friend of mine, she likes film too, told me that Europe has so many shocking movies that they tend to really push the envelope to get noticed; so this film was born.
February 26, 2012
In my opinion, Gentlemen, Salo is a powerful film; an obvious, but very effective metaphor for fascism. I have no desire to see A Serbian Film.
 
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More A Serbian Film reviews
review by . September 16, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Zero stars out of ****    When a film stirs as much controversy as this one does, I feel inclined to see it just for the sake of seeing it. Most times, people make a big deal over little things; after all, it's just a movie. In the case of "A Serbian Film", I can certainly understand what all the fuss is about from both ends of the spectrum. The critics hate it because in truth is vile, amoral, perverse, and excessive, often leaving nothing to the imagination; while the "hardcore …
review by . December 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Movie America Doesn't Want You To See
If I were to imply that A Serbian Film was an enjoyable experience, I'd be lying. Everything you could possibly hear about this film is probably true and I certainly wouldn't recommend this movie to just anyone. To make myself a bit more clear, you might want to avoid it altogether if you're not a lover of the extreme cinema.         On the same token, I'd compare it to a blind date that starts off rather slowly but ends horribly wrong. Picture …
About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #6
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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Wiki

A Serbian Film (Serbian: Српски филм / Srpski film) is a 2010 Serbian horror film set in Serbia, the first feature film directed by Srđan Spasojević. It tells the story of a down-on-his-luck porn star who agrees to participate in an "art film", only to discover that he has been drafted into a snuff movie with child rape and necrophilic themes. The film stars Serbian actors Srđan Todorović and Sergej Trifunović. Upon its debut on the art film circuit, the film received substantial attention for its graphic depictions of rape, necrophilia, and incest.

The state prosecution of Serbia opened an investigation to find out if the film violates the law. It is being investigated for elements of crime against sexual morals and crime related to the protection of minors. It was banned by a San Sebastián court for "threatening sexual freedom" and thus could not be shown in the XXI Semana de Cine Fantástico y de Terror (21st Horror and Fantasy Film Festival).

Plot

Miloš is a semi-retired Serbian porn star with a beautiful wife and young son. Although strapped financially, his home life is happy, and his biggest problem comes in the form of the jealousies of his brother, Marko, a corrupt police officer who envies Miloš' family life.

Seeking one last big payday to make a clean break from pornography and secure his family's financial future, Miloš is intrigued when one of his former co-stars, Lejla, approaches him with an ...

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Details

Genre: Horror
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Runtime: 110 minutes

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