A Serbian Film Review

Today sees the DVD release of what has been dubbed by some, ‘the sickest movie ever made’. Fans of mainstream, Hollywood blockbusters may know little, if anything of Srdjan Spasojevic’s A Serbian Film, yet amongst those who keep a close eye on the more bizarre, controversial and disturbing offerings from cinema, the film will already have gained some notoriety.

A Serbian Film tells the tale of Milos, a semi retired porn star who is lured back into the industry by former co-star Lejla, who offers him the opportunity to star in what he is led to believe will be an ‘art’ film. Initially reluctant, Milos agrees to adhere to director Vukmir’s rule that he must remain ignorant as to the plot of the film until shooting begins. What follows is a stream of incest, rape, necrophilia and child porn, as Milos unwittingly descends into hell when the truth behind Vukmir’s intentions for his ‘art film’ is revealed.

Having seen the full, uncut version I can say that A Serbian film is probably not a film I would recommend to friends and it is certainly not an enjoyable viewing experience, but does this necessarily make it a ‘bad’ film? It undeniably pushes the boundaries and many say it has gone too far. Indeed it shows some very disturbing  images and deals with taboo breaking concepts rarely touched upon in cinema; however to say that it is a film completely devoid of artistic merit would be both unfair and uneducated.

The director has stated that the film is a metaphor for how the people of Serbia are treated by their government; whether or not you choose to believe his intentions is perhaps neither here nor there; one cannot deny that it is a well made (and at times acted) and competently directed film with impressive cinematography and an equally impressive soundtrack.

Undoubtedly there will be many people, who,  in true Mary Whitehouse style will hear about the film’s most notorious scenes and will condemn it without judging it in its entirety. Yet there may also be those, who have the ability to recognise that while it may not be to everyone’s taste, while it is not for the faint hearted and while it will indeed offend, it is also a film which deserves recognition.

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