Saturday, 30 April 2011

A Serbian Film

Srdan Spasojevic would have us believe that his first feature film A Serbian Film (2010) is a political allegory about modern day of life Serbia and how their governing elite treats its people. He talks in an interview about the movie being a giant metaphor and how he treats real life as pornography, considering peoples lives as pure exploitation, with basic employment being viciously exploited by the employers. Violent scenes, he goes on to say, underline his strength of feeling with the main character although a porn star is part of a “perfect” family with a beautiful and educated wife and a happy and contented young child. The film is also meant to highlight the violence within the family, Serbian men can treat their women and children in what ever way they deem fit!

This films premise is fairly simple. Retired porn star Milos is lured back to his old profession by the promise of a very large amount of money and the prospect to push back the boundaries of pornographic art, an opportunity he decides that’s to good to miss, but too late, he finds out that film maker Vukmir is keener on creating a snuff video than making a cinematic work of art. Milos is kept docile, except where it counts, via a good dose of cattle aphrodisiac and therefore has no personal control over his actions.

There is no doubt that Serbia’s first truly independent film (financed by private funds and not the state) is controversial, coursing problems where ever and when ever it has been shown publicly and dividing viewers and critics alike. BBFC made 49 cuts amounting to 4 minutes and eleven seconds making it the most censored cinema release in Britain since 1994. The censoring was due to the sexual violence, sexualised violence and the portrayal of children in a sexualised and abusive content, although the director did make sure that the children where filmed separately which in turn avoided legal problems under the 1978 Protection of Children Act. The Serbian reaction to the film was, as elsewhere, mixed with certain sections of Serbian society thinking that it did not reflect a good image of the country and others having a view that it may attract outside filmmakers to make movies there, opening there film industry to the outside world.

So going back to my first paragraph do I believe the director when he states that his film is a political allegory or just a extreme blood, gore and sex horror movie that the French make so well? Spasojevic says his film is an honest approach to the subject matter and that the original message is hidden because of the cuts and that the film was not made with the sole intention of creating controversy.  But whatever the director states the film will continue to evoke strong reactions amongst it audience. What do I think? Well I think you should make every effort to see this film and make up your own mind. File next to Antichrist (2009)

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