That Movie People Don’t Like To Think About
Oh how cryptic, what could it possibly be? Deadgirl? Antichrist? Perhaps another time. Today I’m going to bring to light probably one of the most intriguingly disturbing films to ever grace my eyeballs, A Serbian Film. I’m serious. If you know of/seen this movie you’ll know what I’m talking about – if not, well, this isn’t the sort of movie you recommend to people, hence why I made this a Kool-aid feature (because I honestly believe this movie could hit cult standards with a little time, effort and therapy) instead of a What You Should Have Watched. I’ll probably lose some readers over this, but I’m over it. This movie is fantastic.
Taboos, Taboos, Taboos!
Let me get you folks up to speed here: A Serbian Film is well, a Serbian horror film from 2010 directed by Srđan Spasojević (no, I have no idea how to pronounce that). The film stars a semi-retired porn star named Miloš, a man who has settled with a wife and child but has issues keeping food on the table. One day Miloš is approached by an old co-star who has a proposition for him: meet with a mysterious director and he will be paid copious amounts of money for a project.
Intrigued, Miloš travels with her to meet this director, an “artist” named Vukmir. Vukmir offers Miloš a contract, but the catch is he cannot know what the project is or what it requires, lest it ruin his performance. Miloš begrudgingly agrees, but immediately regrets his decision when he discovers a project of unimaginable consequences to which he has no escape.
This movie has absolutely every taboo imaginable: pornography, violence, child abuse, rape, necrophilia – the list goes on and on. To say this film is “pretty graphic” is like saying Hitler was “kinda grumpy.” Within the first five minutes, you’re already subjected to some pretty crazy stuff – and then without apology this movie quickly snowballs to capture some of the most heinous actions imaginable. Some so despicably disgusting, there are reaction videos on YouTube. (Here’s a hint, it involves an infant.) This is the kind of movie that proves there’s no God and then rubs salt in your paper cuts while murdering your parents. Too much?
To film atrocity for attention’s sake is just obnoxious – not to mention, completely uncalled for. I would not waste your time if this was indeed the case. When Miloš learns the truth about this production, he immediately asks Vukmir why him, why a porn star?
Not pornography, but life itself! That’s life of a victim. Love, art, blood… flesh and soul of a victim. Transmitted live to the world who has lost all that and now is paying to watch that from the comfort of an armchair. … Victim sells, Miloš. Victim is the priciest sell in this world. The victim feels the most and suffers the best. We are a victim, Miloš. You, me, this whole nation is a victim.
If you haven’t taken a peek at the wiki entry yet, you’ll learn that Spasojević’s main concept behind this film was a parody and critique Serbian film culture, being that it is ran by means of foreign funds and is now a comical shadow of its foreign self. Thus Spasojević decided to focus on the extremes…extreme extremes. I’m paraphrasing of course, but that’s what the hyperlink’s for. Personally, I found the quote far more interesting than the political stuff.
It seems that these days the victim is the new hero. What makes the hero so relatable most of the time is that they are victimized in some way or form, and from this victimization comes passion for justice (this occurs on various scales, the “revenge-flick” being the most obvious). Then immediately after Vukmir says this, he tells Miloš that he is the only one in the film who is not a victim. This presents an interesting argument:
Vukmir presents the idea of an inborn need to see people get revenge – usually this is the reflection of the political/economic times (in Serbia’s case, capitalizing on suffering by destroying the film industry with run-of-the-mill fluff) – but Vukmir’s film has no revenge in it whatsoever, it is merely Miloš doing the victimizing. Now from a meta standpoint, we want Miloš to get out of this because we can sympathize – he has a family and just needed some extra money, and he didn’t know what he was bargaining with. At the same time, Miloš did sign a contract and has an obligation to uphold (not that we as viewers want him to, but these guys have atrocious methods of persuasion – you do not want to piss them off). Such a glorious paradox, ironically presented in a pornographic snuff film.
A Serbian Film is absolutely wretched but you cannot look away, mostly because you can’t believe what’s going on. It’s also hard to gauge which is worse: the fact that this was filmed or the fact that it was greenlit. I’d be lying if I said this didn’t disturb me, but man this film is just so darn interesting! This is why it’s impossible to recommend because you don’t want to look like an absolute monster, but the conversation that can occur and the analysis – it just tickles my brain just thinking about it. Or I could just be a perverted psychopath, you never know.