Fargo's Moving Picture Extravaganza! A Serbian Film

Note: This review will contain discussion of explicit material. You have been warned. Links have also been supplied for the more obscure movies. Expect Wiki links to also contain discussion of explicit/disturbing materials.

Extreme cinema is something I'm not entirely unfamiliar with, and neither is it something the movie industry is unfamiliar with. Pier Pasolini's Salo slicing its way into the movie world back in 1975, various directors have been trying to pile more gore and more perversions in the hope they would became the next best thing in cinema, simply through shock value. With Hollywood ducking out of the race quickly with the critically slammed Caligula, released in 1979, shock-horror dropped of the map despite some valiant efforts coming from Italy. In the 90s, the sub-genre vanished entirely. It wasn't until French films like Baise-Moi and Gasper Noe's brilliant Irreversible added some dark spice that extreme cinema came back. Perhaps not as much into the public conscious as it once was, but horror fans normally had no trouble in finding them, and the when the new 'MOST DISTURBING MOVIE EVER' was promoted, hype normally built to intolerably high levels. This is the point of view one needs to have when we look at..

A Serbian Film

image

For those who hadn't caught on, A Serbian Film is a Serbian film written and directed by Srdan Spasojevic and stars Srdan Todorovic as a retired porn-star named Milos. Milos lives with his wife and son, and while the household is not financially secure, his life is calm, relaxed and happy. However, with the financial situation still not being to Milos' taste, he takes on one last job for a wealthy pornographic director, who wishes to craft an art-film. The only condition is that Milos will not be told what is going to happen until he is on the set on the day of the shoot.

A Serbian Film is probably one of the most 'extreme' movies to come out in a very long time. In terms of imagery, the film ranks near the top of the list for sheer brutality and perversion. What adds to the punch-to-the-gut effect is that A Serbian Film is in fact, very well-made. Unlike some 'extreme horror' movies, such as August Underground, the production has clearly been granted a decent budget. The film has a distinct shine of polish that would make many horror films pale in comparison, with good cinematography and some especially clever lighting used. The film has a slight twinge of yellow around it, which gives it a more dusty look and atmosphere. On top of the high production values, the acting is overall good. Some of the lesser characters are terrible, but the main cast is of a reasonable quality. A stand out performance really does come from Srdan Todorovic. His performance as Milos is one of the reasons why A Serbian Film keeps the viewer watching, despite the ever mounting list of perversions the film-makers pile upon him.

image

For such an extreme film, it has some very high production values

Unfortunately, the acting and the budget seem to be the only things going for A Serbian Film. The film really is a sick, disgusting mess. It's sort of watching a car-crash in the most literal of senses. Srdan Spasojevic claims A Serbian Film is a reactionary piece, built from the ashes of a country ravaged by war, and claims it as much a comment on the past of his country as it is a horror movie. Never having even been to Serbia as it is, I can't dispute this claim. I can however, condemn him for his choice in presenting the issue.

A film can have the deepest political message engrained into it, but at the same time if that film repulses the viewer, he or she is never going to feel the need to look beyond what is presented to them on screen. It's why films like Salo took so long to find an audience that would accept it and look behind the torture Pier Pasolini was indulging in on-screen. It's because whatever issue or theme one wants to reinforce must be presented in a way so that the viewer can relate and connect, whether that be through relatable characters or some other means of communication. However the director decides to present his message, he must remember to let the audience see it. This is something A Serbian Film fails at, although it does so in the most spectacular of ways.

I can't relate to Milos, and I'm fairly sure most audiences will have some trouble doing the same thing. We can follow him in his journey, sure, but we can't feel what he's feeling. We can't delve into his being and see from a distance what he represents. We can't look at the images that are splattered across the screen and dissect them as commentary on Serbia. Instead we must look at the images in the most plain and barren of ways and take the impact they present in the most primitive of ways; a way I can only describe as emotionally distant and cold. By choosing to present such extreme images in his film, Srdan Spasojevic has completely ruined any thematic impact the viewer could have with Milos and Serbia. The images simply are reduced to being repulsive and disgusting, and any political message Spasojevic ingrained in his script is completely torn to shreds by the manner in which he chooses to present his work.

image

By focusing on brutality and repulsive material, the film fails to make a thematic impact upon the viewer

A Serbian Film can not be qualified as a good piece of movie-making. It is certainly a well-made movie, and I dare say it is even constructed well in a narrative sense. However, it fails as a horror film, as a thriller film, and as a dramatic film. Worst of all, the film neither works as a piece of gaudy entertainment or as an art film to be dissected looking for deeper meaning. It simply attempts to make a connection to something most audiences will be unable to relate to, but buries that connection under layers of extreme pornography, violence and rape, wrapping the whole experience in an impenetrable crust that will turn nearly everyone away from any kind of deeper meaning, leaving the hardcore to chip away at an inaccessible prize.

Those of you looking to test your metal as a horror fan, than check out A Serbian Film if you truly wish to. It will not be a pleasant experience, and you will most likely come away hollow with no deeper insight gained and no entertainment value given. A Serbian Film is simply a piece of movie-making without artistic or political merit, despite it's attempt to wrap metaphors and symbolism around the tormented, abused characters it presents to us. A metaphor can be crafted out of anything, but that does not mean it should be.

I normally watch disgusting films just to see if they disgust me...

The Human Centipede didn't and I don't think this will either. Still might try and watch it.

Kind of disappointing that it fails on so many levels.

I read the plot description on wikipedia. Even that was disgusting.

Huh.

Doesn't really sound like my type of film then. I at least expected it to be entertaining.
Also, it's a horror film? Doesn't really seem like it would be scary. I still might watch it, just to see if it does disgust me, but I likely won't try to be entertained by it.

As for the review, I don't see anything wrong with it. Good job! :)

GamesB2:
I normally watch disgusting films just to see if they disgust me...

The Human Centipede didn't and I don't think this will either. Still might try and watch it.

Kind of disappointing that it fails on so many levels.

This is a completely different ball game from Human Centipede. That film was just silly. A Serbian Film is far more dark and twisted, unlike Human Centipede which had nothing go for it beyond the premise.

I went into the film knowing exactly what the plot was and scene after scene the film did nothing but bore me. I actually finished it to see if anything would actually make me cringe away in disgust but, although it tried, it did not succeed.

Nice to see you review this after the discussion we had about it the other day.

Good job on your part. Nicely written review and alll but the movie itself is just too sick and grotesque for me to feel anything positive towards it.

Hell, even certain things were just outright bad about it. Not that it was too gross or whatever, but because it didn't do it well.

The ending in particular. It seems like they just said "Hm, what can we do to reaaaallllyyyy freak people out?"

Julianking93:
Nice to see you review this after the discussion we had about it the other day.

Good job on your part. Nicely written review and alll but the movie itself is just too sick and grotesque for me to feel anything positive towards it.

Hell, even certain things were just outright bad about it. Not that it was too gross or whatever, but because it didn't do it well.

The ending in particular. It seems like they just said "Hm, what can we do to reaaaallllyyyy freak people out?"

The ending I can see working with the right director and writer. It's a clever twist, if incredibly warped, but it's not necessary to show the actual act and the explicitness that came with. With some clever editing and a much more implied way of doing it, it could actually have been a cool 'What the fuck? I did not see that coming!' moment. As it is, it's simply a 'What the fuck? That's just beyond disgusting.'

Had a chance to see this at Fantasia but I skipped out on it to see something else....can't remember what that something else was though....

Ignatz_Zwakh:
Had a chance to see this at Fantasia but I skipped out on it to see something else....can't remember what that something else was though....

I'm going to presume that was in a theatre? As much as I dislike the movie, I think seeing it on the big screen with a decent sound system would be a really interesting experience, at the very least.

FargoDog:

Julianking93:
Nice to see you review this after the discussion we had about it the other day.

Good job on your part. Nicely written review and alll but the movie itself is just too sick and grotesque for me to feel anything positive towards it.

Hell, even certain things were just outright bad about it. Not that it was too gross or whatever, but because it didn't do it well.

The ending in particular. It seems like they just said "Hm, what can we do to reaaaallllyyyy freak people out?"

The ending I can see working with the right director and writer. It's a clever twist, if incredibly warped, but it's not necessary to show the actual act and the explicitness that came with. With some clever editing and a much more implied way of doing it, it could actually have been a cool 'What the fuck? I did not see that coming!' moment. As it is, it's simply a 'What the fuck? That's just beyond disgusting.'

Eh. I wouldn't even give it that.

I'm no film writer (though I'm working on being one ^-^) but I honestly can't think of a way to make that work.

Didn't work there. Most definitely didn't work here.

Julianking93:

FargoDog:

Julianking93:
Nice to see you review this after the discussion we had about it the other day.

Good job on your part. Nicely written review and alll but the movie itself is just too sick and grotesque for me to feel anything positive towards it.

Hell, even certain things were just outright bad about it. Not that it was too gross or whatever, but because it didn't do it well.

The ending in particular. It seems like they just said "Hm, what can we do to reaaaallllyyyy freak people out?"

The ending I can see working with the right director and writer. It's a clever twist, if incredibly warped, but it's not necessary to show the actual act and the explicitness that came with. With some clever editing and a much more implied way of doing it, it could actually have been a cool 'What the fuck? I did not see that coming!' moment. As it is, it's simply a 'What the fuck? That's just beyond disgusting.'

Eh. I wouldn't even give it that.

I'm no film writer (though I'm working on being one ^-^) but I honestly can't think of a way to make that work.

Didn't work there. Most definitely didn't work here.

I didn't mean that ending, I meant the whole

twist. Handled by someone else, I can see that working. In fact, I can name a film that did it extremely well, but it was handled far more discreetly and with a different angle. Same sort of idea though, but the execution differed so widely that that film came off as genuinely horrifying and impactful, while A Serbian Film just ended up looking pathetic and disgusting.

FargoDog:

Julianking93:

FargoDog:

The ending I can see working with the right director and writer. It's a clever twist, if incredibly warped, but it's not necessary to show the actual act and the explicitness that came with. With some clever editing and a much more implied way of doing it, it could actually have been a cool 'What the fuck? I did not see that coming!' moment. As it is, it's simply a 'What the fuck? That's just beyond disgusting.'

Eh. I wouldn't even give it that.

I'm no film writer (though I'm working on being one ^-^) but I honestly can't think of a way to make that work.

Didn't work there. Most definitely didn't work here.

I didn't mean that ending, I meant the whole

twist. Handled by someone else, I can see that working. In fact, I can name a film that did it extremely well, but it was handled far more discreetly and with a different angle. Same sort of idea though, but the execution differed so widely that that film came off as genuinely horrifying and impactful, while A Serbian Film just ended up looking pathetic and disgusting.

Oh, okay. Yeah, I guess that can be handled well, but given that he's fucking them, it just comes off as distastful.

Wow, so there's really no reason to watch this "film" other then for shock value?

FargoDog:

Ignatz_Zwakh:
Had a chance to see this at Fantasia but I skipped out on it to see something else....can't remember what that something else was though....

I'm going to presume that was in a theatre? As much as I dislike the movie, I think seeing it on the big screen with a decent sound system would be a really interesting experience, at the very least.

Yes, it was. Fantasia is a uber-awesome festival that happens every July in Montreal. They show an absurd amount of foreign films that range from rediscovered classics to gore-drenched b-movies. It empties my wallet every year.

Scde2:
Wow, so there's really no reason to watch this "film" other then for shock value?

Pretty much. Unless you really, really like films with a yellow tinge.

Julianking93:
Oh, okay. Yeah, I guess that can be handled well, but given that he's fucking them, it just comes off as distastful.

I find it even more distasteful the director claimed the whole thing was a metaphor, when he really just wanted to have a shocking moment for the sake of it. As I've said, I don't know enough about Serbia's history and such but I'm pretty sure some guy raping his son doesn't make a good metaphor for anything.

FargoDog:

Julianking93:
Oh, okay. Yeah, I guess that can be handled well, but given that he's fucking them, it just comes off as distastful.

I find it even more distasteful the director claimed the whole thing was a metaphor, when he really just wanted to have a shocking moment for the sake of it. As I've said, I don't know enough about Serbia's history and such but I'm pretty sure some guy raping his son doesn't make a good metaphor for anything.

Yeah, I read that the other day.

Lets have this father rape his son and wife then kill his brother.

It's a perfect metaphor for our state of government. Brilliant!!!!

Hell, I forgive that movie "Irreversible" before this. At least that wasn't pretentious enough to warrant some idiot's artistic bullshit.

OMFG IM SERBIAN ^D^

Julianking93:

FargoDog:

Julianking93:
Oh, okay. Yeah, I guess that can be handled well, but given that he's fucking them, it just comes off as distastful.

I find it even more distasteful the director claimed the whole thing was a metaphor, when he really just wanted to have a shocking moment for the sake of it. As I've said, I don't know enough about Serbia's history and such but I'm pretty sure some guy raping his son doesn't make a good metaphor for anything.

Yeah, I read that the other day.

Lets have this father rape his son and wife then kill his brother.

It's a perfect metaphor for our state of government. Brilliant!!!!

Hell, I forgive that movie "Irreversible" before this. At least that wasn't pretentious enough to warrant some idiot's artistic bullshit.

I liked Irreversible, with the exception of the rape scene. It was effective, but went on far, far too long. At least Irreversible had something to say about humans, whether it be how we are or why we act the way we do when confronted with impossible and extreme situations involving the ones we love. It overstepped the mark with that one scene, but otherwise I thought it was a very clever film, and had far more heart than A Serbian Film could ever dream of having.

FargoDog:

Julianking93:

FargoDog:

Julianking93:
Oh, okay. Yeah, I guess that can be handled well, but given that he's fucking them, it just comes off as distastful.

I find it even more distasteful the director claimed the whole thing was a metaphor, when he really just wanted to have a shocking moment for the sake of it. As I've said, I don't know enough about Serbia's history and such but I'm pretty sure some guy raping his son doesn't make a good metaphor for anything.

Yeah, I read that the other day.

Lets have this father rape his son and wife then kill his brother.

It's a perfect metaphor for our state of government. Brilliant!!!!

Hell, I forgive that movie "Irreversible" before this. At least that wasn't pretentious enough to warrant some idiot's artistic bullshit.

I liked Irreversible, with the exception of the rape scene. It was effective, but went on far, far too long. At least Irreversible had something to say about humans, whether it be how we are or why we act the way we do when confronted with impossible and extreme situations involving the ones we love. It overstepped the mark with that one scene, but otherwise I thought it was a very clever film, and had far more heart than A Serbian Film could ever dream of having.

I couldn't handle the fire extinguisher scene.

I remember Furburt posting it in one of the groups here and it made me cry. Then I went and saw the actual movie.

It was good, but fuck, was it depressing.

Julianking93:

FargoDog:

Julianking93:

FargoDog:

Julianking93:
Oh, okay. Yeah, I guess that can be handled well, but given that he's fucking them, it just comes off as distastful.

I find it even more distasteful the director claimed the whole thing was a metaphor, when he really just wanted to have a shocking moment for the sake of it. As I've said, I don't know enough about Serbia's history and such but I'm pretty sure some guy raping his son doesn't make a good metaphor for anything.

Yeah, I read that the other day.

Lets have this father rape his son and wife then kill his brother.

It's a perfect metaphor for our state of government. Brilliant!!!!

Hell, I forgive that movie "Irreversible" before this. At least that wasn't pretentious enough to warrant some idiot's artistic bullshit.

I liked Irreversible, with the exception of the rape scene. It was effective, but went on far, far too long. At least Irreversible had something to say about humans, whether it be how we are or why we act the way we do when confronted with impossible and extreme situations involving the ones we love. It overstepped the mark with that one scene, but otherwise I thought it was a very clever film, and had far more heart than A Serbian Film could ever dream of having.

I couldn't handle the fire extinguisher scene.

I remember Furburt posting it in one of the groups here and it made me cry. Then I went and saw the actual movie.

It was good, but fuck, was it depressing.

I agree. The phrase I used after watching it was 'That was perhaps one of the poignant, brilliant movies I have ever seen. And I am never going to watch it again.'

I didn't have a problem with the fire extinguisher scene, but the rape scene was extremely distressing for me, considering it hit a little to close to home. I understand the point Gasper Noe was trying to get across, but at the same it doesn't need to last fifteen minutes. In fact, I might review Irreversible.. Hmm..

FargoDog:

I agree. The phrase I used after watching it was 'That was perhaps one of the poignant, brilliant movies I have ever seen. And I am never going to watch it again.'

I didn't have a problem with the fire extinguisher scene, but the rape scene was extremely distressing for me, considering it hit a little to close to home. I understand the point Gasper Noe was trying to get across, but at the same it doesn't need to last fifteen minutes. In fact, I might review Irreversible.. Hmm..

I can't handle rape either but something about the scene didn't bother me like others did. I've known two people in my life whom I care for deeply to be raped and seeing it in movies is typically a big red flag for me.

I do agree that it was a good movie that I will never watch again though :D

Julianking93:

FargoDog:

I agree. The phrase I used after watching it was 'That was perhaps one of the poignant, brilliant movies I have ever seen. And I am never going to watch it again.'

I didn't have a problem with the fire extinguisher scene, but the rape scene was extremely distressing for me, considering it hit a little to close to home. I understand the point Gasper Noe was trying to get across, but at the same it doesn't need to last fifteen minutes. In fact, I might review Irreversible.. Hmm..

I can't handle rape either but something about the scene didn't bother me like others did. I've known two people in my life whom I care for deeply to be raped and seeing it in movies is typically a big red flag for me.

I do agree that it was a good movie that I will never watch again though :D

My ex-girlfriend was raped by her boyfriend around the time I saw it. If that hadn't happened, I probably would have been able to stomach it. Instead it was physically painful for me to sit through it.

So yes, anyone interested in seeing A Serbian Film, go and see Irreversible instead. :P

2012 Wont Happen:
I read the plot description on wikipedia. Even that was disgusting.

I did the same. After reading that as well as the reviews, The only thoughts I have are "no way in hell am I seeing this for any reason" and "why am I not surprised that this came from the same country and race that spawned the most corrupt and fucked-up members of my own family."

FargoDog:

Julianking93:

FargoDog:

I agree. The phrase I used after watching it was 'That was perhaps one of the poignant, brilliant movies I have ever seen. And I am never going to watch it again.'

I didn't have a problem with the fire extinguisher scene, but the rape scene was extremely distressing for me, considering it hit a little to close to home. I understand the point Gasper Noe was trying to get across, but at the same it doesn't need to last fifteen minutes. In fact, I might review Irreversible.. Hmm..

I can't handle rape either but something about the scene didn't bother me like others did. I've known two people in my life whom I care for deeply to be raped and seeing it in movies is typically a big red flag for me.

I do agree that it was a good movie that I will never watch again though :D

My ex-girlfriend was raped by her boyfriend around the time I saw it. If that hadn't happened, I probably would have been able to stomach it. Instead it was physically painful for me to sit through it.

So yes, anyone interested in seeing A Serbian Film, go and see Irreversible instead. :P

I know how that is. It's a difficult thing to go through for everyone involved. Don't really want to put this out in the open but the girl I'm currently in a relationship with was raped by her first boyfriend. Because of this, I've not been able to handle rape scenes as easily as I could before

Good advice, really. Irreversible is a good film. A Serbian Film is not.

Well, just read up on the plot from Wikipedia... I feel this is one of those movies that should never have been given the green light. Anyone who says there is some underline message to it, deserves to be skull fucked by a horse... actually I think that was in the film...

Wowie, that's a pretty sweet review.

Keep 'em coming!

Sinclose:
Wowie, that's a pretty sweet review.

Keep 'em coming!

Thanks :)

I've done a few since this. I should probably start linking to my other reviews at the bottom of each one, but I'm far too lazy. I'll get around to it at some point.

I only saw a few errors. ;)
A few months late to the party, but here I am! Do not fear! Or... do fear? D:

Anyways, as I already mentioned to you, I'm always impressed by your reviews. Really flows, and is incredibly informative. I learn more than just your opinions on the film, I learn about the genre the film's in, and movie-making in general. Kudos!

I highly doubt I'll ever watch this movie, especially if it's a movie made up of shock and gore. I mean, I'm still nervous to watch Martyrs...

zombiesinc:
I only saw a few errors. ;)
A few months late to the party, but here I am! Do not fear! Or... do fear? D:

Anyways, as I already mentioned to you, I'm always impressed by your reviews. Really flows, and is incredibly informative. I learn more than just your opinions on the film, I learn about the genre the film's in, and movie-making in general. Kudos!

I highly doubt I'll ever watch this movie, especially if it's a movie made up of shock and gore. I mean, I'm still nervous to watch Martyrs...

I fear. Very much so. This is my fear face.

Why thank you, and why haven't you watched Martyrs yet? Rarghdoitnoaw. Don't watch a Serbian Film though. There are parts you simple can't unsee.

If you would like to see a film that deals with the sociopolitical issues of Serbia in a more literal sense, I recommend "Cabaret Balkan (Bure Baruta)". Although I haven't seen "Serbian Film" and have no real plan to do so, I think Cabaret Balkan *might* help to put things in a bit more context. And it's an uncomfortable movie but not excruciating viewing.

Great Review on the film
I must say I went into the film bracing myself for the worse, I admit I cringed (and closed my eyes a bit) but wasnt as grotesque as I thought it would be.
Still I cannot unsee what has been seen =/

Excellent review. Sounds like the movie has the same problem as Saya no Uta (VN), with the grotesque and repulsive elements being so relentlessly - and needlessly - intensive that it completely steals away the ability to focus on whatever other merits the piece might have, pretty much undermining itself in its haste to make an impact.

 

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked