Friday, March 4, 2011
A Serbian Film -- AKA Srpksi Film (2010)
I can’t recall another horror/exploitation film garnering as much attention in the past few years, heck even decade, as this one has. Can you? Forget the story, it’s been pretty much painted as an endurance test among genre fans and cinephiles alike. But is there substance to the actual film? Regardless of political allegory (which I believe to be suspect), does the film have anything to offer the viewer? Read on.
Most people who’ve followed the film or have read about its infamy, know of the basic storyline. But just in case you’re unaware, here it is: retired porn star and family man Milos is given an offer he can’t refuse. A new style of performance art pornography is set to go into production with the effort being lead by a mysterious man named Vukmir. At first, Milos is reluctant. Promises of a life that will be forever taken care of tempt him, while at the same time, he's also reminded of the current financial struggles that his family faces. The promise of never ending fortune becomes too much for him to pass up. Once the dotted line is signed and he to goes to work, we become sickened by the unspeakable horrors that Milos is asked to commit.
The horrors of this film are well documented and the most notorious scenes are described in great detail on other sites. So I won’t go into that here. If you're really interested, a quick Google search returns many results. What I will say is that, while the extremity of the situations and the acts being asked to commit were certainly gruesome and disgusting, none of them really justified either point the film was/is trying to make. A diatribe about life and society is given by Vukmir when Milos is ready to walk away early on. His point and the point of the film (at least for me) is completely negated when he says that really all he’s trying to do is create a new sub-genre, ‘newborn porn.’ Again, I think this aspect of the film is completely suspect.
If we take the film at face value for what it is trying to portray, the slipping of one man to the point where he completely loses touch with reality, that is also a hard sell as we aren’t really painted a picture of a family that is truly struggling. At the beginning, we see them in their nice home (a mansion by most peoples standards), completely furnished and without bare. Other than the couple simply saying that they have money problems, the only time we see anything that physically amounts to issues with finances and falling on hard times is when Milos reluctantly digs into his pant pocket to fork over some money for his son’s piano lessons. So daddy goes on a disgusting, drug fueled, murderous and psychotic sex rampage for some piano lessons? I’m not trying to oversimplify things here but that’s essentially what the film boils down to. I didn’t really get the feeling that the family was in that dire of a situation and as a result, the ends didn't justify the means.
As such, with about 20 min. left in the film, I just wanted it to be over with. There was no point at all to any of the onscreen madness. If you want to experience a similar film that is shocking with a much better painted picture of sickness and depravity, and it even has a redemptive quality about it, keep yours eyes peeled for a film called The Bunny Game (review here and filmmaker interview here). It will stay with you long after the credits roll unlike A Serbian Film which I've already forgotten about.
Cortez the Killer