“Something big is about to happen”
One thing about watching horror as I do is that you’ve seen it all. It’s like a drug that every time you do it, you need a bigger hit. It takes you longer and a higher dose to get that feeling back. After “Frontiers”, “Martyrs”, and “Inside” I didn’t think anyone could match that intensity again. If you’ve reached that point that nothing shocks or disturbs you anymore, brace yourself for “A Serbian Film”.
Srđan Todorović is Miloš, a retired porn super star who married and has a 6 year old son. He also has a brother named Marko (Slobodan Beštić), who covets his wife Marija (Jelena Gavrilović) and porn lifestyle. One day he is contacted by one of his former co-stars Lejla (Katarina Žutić) with an offer. A huge art porn film with an equally huge paycheck by an enigmatic director named Vukmir Vukmir. Wanting to secure his family’s future and get them out of Serbia, Miloš signs up without any knowledge of the script or intent. It starts off rough with an oral sex scene involving beating while a young girl watches. Miloš is unsettled by the children and wants to quit, he goes to see Vukmir, who proceeds to show him how revolutionary he truly is. A scene he calls “New Born Porn”.
I can’t go into any more detail without spoiling the film and quite frankly, I’m not even sure I want to write about what I saw. Pedophilia, Necrophilia, Paraphilia, Sodomy, desperation, drug induced sexual insanity, torture, betrayal, rape, the list goes on and on including acts so unspeakable that don’t even have a clinical name.
If you thought Criterion hailed classics like SALO: 120 Days of Sodom were the end all be all of disturbing films, you are gravely mistaken. This film will make you question everything you believe about the simple act of watching a film. There is no innocence in that act anymore, not with this film anyway. The act of watching it sides you with Vukmir and his mysterious client. It makes you the purchaser of their sick and depraved material, watching the most disgusting acts ever filmed for entertainment. This would be the film that Nicolas Cage should have watched in 8mm, in fact, I may just splice them together.
It sounds like I am condemning this film but in actuality, I couldn’t recommend it higher. It is a fearless piece of filmmaking about the underbelly of humanity. And though A Serbian film is presented as metaphor by writer/director Srđan Spasojević, anyone who believes this film is simply a work of sick fantasy is either naive or in denial. It transcends horror because of its reality, more so than Hostel or Human Centipede. It is a film that I will dream about for many nights to come. A film so powerfully unshakeable because it means everything it says. See “A Serbian Film”, even if you have read all about it, nothing can prepare you for the actual visuals. Will it change the boundaries of modern filmmaking? We will have to wait and see, but after almost two years, this film is still making waves all over the world. I believe there is change on the horizon. For better or for worse, in the words of Lejla: “Something big is about to happen”.