The Movie Waffler DVD Review - A Serbian Film (Special Edition) | The Movie Waffler

DVD Review - A Serbian Film (Special Edition)

Safecracker Pictures' new UK Special Edition of the most controversial film of recent years.

Directed by: Srdjan Spasojevic
Starring: Srdjan Todorovic, Sergej Trifunovic, Jelena Gavrilovic, Slobodan Bestic, Katarina Zutic

The Movie:

A Serbian Film comes saddled with a reputation. The most disgusting film of all time. One of the most banned and censored in recent times. Thus at a stroke arousing controversy and indignation amongst the tabloids and putting it straight to the top of the must see list for undiscerning gore hounds.
This plays into director Spasojevic’s hands; A Serbian Film is a deliberate provocation. It actively goes for the most extreme and repellant of imagery and asks if you can take it. The film follows ex porn actor Milos (Todorovic); struggling to look after his family and in need of cash, he takes a job with Mephistophelean film Director Vukmir (Trifunovic), an artist and visionary who wants to transform pornography into art (presumably in 10 minute bursts). Once Vukmir’s methodology turns increasingly brutal and murderous, Milos is trapped. Like a priapic Alice going down the rabbit hole, his life is turned upside down.
A Serbian Film is an unusual, if not very good, film. Visually it is a cut above most low budget horror work. Anyone expecting a grubby, cheap looking affair will be surprised. The acting is, with a few exceptions, strong. It has a directorial style and actually has some suspense as it builds to the horrors of the climax, both literal and figurative. This is possibly what troubles many people. You expect a shaky gorefest with limited panache and then realize you are watching a real film; care has been taken over it. It has a viewpoint and a thesis. Does it become more disturbing because it has some intellectual rigor behind it or less?
The most notorious aspect of this film is the now infamous baby scene (still censored in this new UK release with some 4 minutes of footage missing). It is a line in the sand moment, one that I feel many will be pressing the eject button on. It is the moment in which everything changes in the film and it becomes the grueling unpleasant work that reputation suggests. Should such a scene be allowed to be represented on screen? The director has stated the film is a political allegory, that he deliberately wanted to show evil acts in evil times. His arguments may be weak and smack of student union nihilism, like Eli Roth with A levels, but if the purpose is serious then should it be allowed? It may be bad art but it can still be classified as art. Vukmir is very much the mouthpiece for the director as he is prone to espousing nuggets such as “Victim sells, Milos. Victim is the priciest sell in this world. The victim feels the most and suffers the best. We are a victim, Milos. You, me, this whole nation is a victim.” The worldview that Spasojevic lays out for his audience lacks nuance, it’s tabloid baiting with the pretence of broadsheet intellect. It tries to have its exploitation cake and eat it.
The dubious appeal of this re-release may also be blunted by the recent court case revelations of pedophile activity regarding the lead singer of a rock band. Would any right thinking person want to watch a film like this as entertainment when faced with such grim reality? I personally have no problem with the film's existence. I also think it should be available uncut. I also don’t think that there is any real reason to watch it. If film is purely a medium to entertain then this fails and should be removed. If, however, film is art, then it should be treated as such; it should be allowed to provoke, repel and disgust as well as enlighten, enrapture and delight. A director should not be personally attacked or vilified for producing such work. He should, however, be challenged and debated on it, and if the film is found wanting, dismissed and ignored.
For all the attempts to disturb, it lingered little in my mind, unlike the best horror films. The best argument it can make is “if thine eye offends thee, fuck it out”. Less agent provocateur, more silly little boy.
The Extras:

Extras include an introduction to the film that does the director no favors, with him coming across as both pompous and glib. You also get a  five minute making of the notorious baby scene, which must rank as one of the more distasteful extras to be included on a DVD special edition.

Jason Abbey