A Serbian Film (18)

Film

Horror films

a_serbian_film_003.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>1</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Dec 7 2010

A newborn baby, fresh from its mother’s womb, is raped; a woman’s head is cut off by a machete-wielding man as he fucks her brutally from behind; a man is raped to death using his empty eye socket. Despite the BBFC’s 49 cuts, which removed a record four minutes and 12 seconds of footage, the essence of director Srdan Spasojevic’s reductive ‘vision’ remains. These therapeutically appalling images are, he claims, an allegorical attack on the rape of Serbian artists’ minds by the ‘cinematic fascists of political correctness.’ But as ex-porn star Milos (Srdjan Todorovic) is cajoled, drugged and beaten into ever more depraved acts by sleazy ‘art porn’ producer Vukmir (Sergej Trifunovic), this critique is lost amid a sordid welter of sexual sadism, incestuous necrophilia and ‘snuff movie’ nihilism. If the film was less skilfully executed, this would afford some protection from the punishing assault on one’s senses, a spew of sickening images reinforced by Sky Wikluh’s throbbing electro score. More offensive than anything else, though, is the filmmaker’s insult to our supposed lack of moral intelligence.
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Release details

Rated:

18

UK release:

Fri Dec 10, 2010

Duration:

104 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.2 / 5

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  • 4 star:3
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  • 2 star:1
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LiveReviews|12
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Wilder95

This director was clearly and understandably traumatized by the horrific outcome of the Serbian war and its vile atrocities since he adapted his emotional outrage into a literal horror show for consumption by movie viewers. It's perhaps not the best forum to make the point as many viewers cannot imagine the horror of war, so they can't identify with the purge set out in ASF. Milosovic's war crimes include rampant ethnic cleansing set upon innocent females, organizing the sexuality of men into a controlled weapon, leaving broken human beings and the men who shared their lives without an outlet for vindication, twisting anger into lethal rage. This is seen in the degradation and control of the characters in ASF no matter how innocent as with the allegory of newborn, the wife, and the son. It's too bad the film didn't include a visual commentary from the director with a direct connection to the outcome of the war as a point for viewers. Too many viewers, as with the critics, will approach this as another mindless shock treatment for the sake of raising the bar in torture-porn film, where the actual historical fact of the atrocities of this war are more sickening than the film.

Wafa

There are few movie's which are great in their own way however you cant bring yourself to watch them again and suggest your friends to watch it . The Serbian is one of the most disturbing movie I watched in years after the Human centipede .. It took me a whole night of weird dreams to come out of the shock and get over with the scenes running in my head after watching the movie. I wouldn't suggest people to watch it nor I would suggest not to watch it.... Lets face it ! It is one of the great disturbing movie which you can afford to watch once in your lifetime... And if its in you to sit through it .... then be ready to see the disgust of some psychos gruesome fantasy into action.

Hannah

This film is challenging, unrelenting, disgusting, nauseating, shocking and undialuted. It is a film with a genuine message that has been, unfortunately, lost amongst the controversy and whinnying. I will avoid the "it's immoral" debate as best I can but I must point out that though the subject matter may be awful, violent or even sick that does not make the film or it's message a write off. The themes of ASF have been used in films many many times before now, what changes their reaction is the imagery used to portray that theme and although A Serbian Film is darker, dirtier and leaves you feeling ashamed it does not actually show anything more than nerve shredding implication. What we also seem to be forgetting is that not one of us that has seen ASF went into it unaware of what it was going to be about. ASF has become nutorious, sparking debate and controversy all over the place and if you knew well enough to find it then you knew well enough what you were letting yourself in for. Hollywood movies have set up the general movie audience to feel nothing when it comes to shocking subject matter by often spoon feeding the issue to the audience with a pinch...or a bucket load of sugar, in the belief that we're all sensitive little lambs who cannot face the honesty. The truth of it all is that this kind of abuse does happen, not from time to time, it happens often. And it doesn't take place somewhere nice, surrounded by mentally stable and compassionate human adults, nor is it a kind or gentle act. A Serbian Film is honest with it's audience, it doesn't patronise you or dialute it's message. However, after defending it all on that level I am only rating it a 3/5. It is an important film with multiple, powerful messages and yet it failed to entertain me as much as I would have liked or expected from such a film and I cannot say I appreciate the aftertaste.

Rod

I loved the film because it made me feel repulsed, shocked and guilty for watching it which are great sensations for me. I look forward to seeing the film which out does it. Let's be real for a second, films like this which purport to be some kind of allegory, study in audience complicity or protest (Salo, Cannibal Holocaust, Man Bites Dog, Funny Games, etc) are just tools to gain notoriety. The fact is, as a viewer you either revel in the feeling of being repulsed or you don't, and if you do, then anything goes, which is what is great about A Serbian Film. Filmmakers who use political or socal themes as excuses to portray the most disgusting and offensive images possible are just taking censors and critics for a ride. For someone who loves the sickest, most perverse films out there, this one really delivers.

rachael

art? lmao! my backside! this isn't film making, it's money making!!! the director knew that by putting as many disgusting, shocking, disturbing and downright immoral things in the film that as word got around ppl would want to check it out to see if it really is as bad as ppl say. it's like a car crash, human beings (no matter how appalled will ALWAYS look even if they really don't want to! curiosity is in our nature! he knew this a capitalised on it bigtime, for his own greed!!! political statement? also b.s does everyone in serbia (including newborn babies) get raped? i hardly think so! this is just a money making excercise by a greedy, scum sucking, barrel scraping and frankly crap director!

Jody

The BBFC are there to balance the ratings in relation to the context of the films that they rate. This film is blatantly one messed up directors vision, and 'political' messages need to be put across in a way which doesnt cause controversy for controversy's sake. Let's not condemn the BBFC for trying to protect 'the masses' and allow what you are calling 'art' loving film viewers to seek out perverse torture films elsewhere. FYI, as a film studies lecturer I also enjoy art films, but do not need to endure pointless torture and flimsy storylines to do so.

Ben

I definitely feel that this film is purely a (barely disguised) sublimation of the director's/writer's attempt to create the most shocking mainstream distributed film in the world. Someone does it time and time again. I hated everything that Hostel stoodfor but I did get the black joke - you are paying to see torture whilst you are mentally tortured. Who is the torturer? Who is the sadist? Who is the masochist? However, the argument could have been made on paper more eloquently without debasing cinema audiences. It might be lost on many people but the sight of images that if viewed in a real scenario would almost inevitably induce Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ha a detrimental effect on the psyche. You can claim that it doesn't all you like but there are things that people train for in order to be able to withstand images of suffering and those people are also offered psychological help after undergoing traumatic ordeals. You can also claim "It's just a movie" but for two reasons 1) The advent of enhanced digital animation which is rapidly becoming 'life-grade quality' and 2) the accessibility of all media material to children, creates an arena of dangerous design. It is terrible enough that children from other countries are recruited as killers in armies and forced to do terrible things but for a developed country to allow it's children to lose their innocence before it's time is barbaric and retrograde. The reason I mention Hostel is that this film doesn't even have an ironic black joke to fall back on. It's makers claim it's derivation from political turmoil. I don't remember Israel making such a film. Or palestine. Or China. Or any other country that has suffrered such ills which to be honest is every country in history. War is hell but there is something to be gleaned from expression of self. Why not make a documentary? Sure, it wouldn't be as headline-making as this film but what has this film become notorious for? The violence or the political message? A desire to be known and famous is behind all shocking image based media. Otherwise it would rely on words. Images are used for the mentally illiterate. Books are banned too but they are generally of a political or ideological subject matter. Ask yourself two questions...why was this made and why (if you did) enjoy watching it? It is human nature to be aroused by sex and violence. But arousal does not necessarily mean something is morally or ethically right. Studies have shown both male and female participants of experiments watching dreamatic rape scenes become sexually stimulated in their brains. Does this mean that films should contain rape scenes as it excites viewers? Some film makers do seem to think this. Film IS about exploration of the human mind and it IS about artistic endeavour but like any explorative journey it is fraught with dangers. To be aware of those angers and still make mistakes is normal. To not learn from those mistakes is disastrous. One star given for the fact that it is a well made film but I think the subject matter stinks.

Paul Doherty

I agree with Tim - this review basically reduces the film to a number of sexually-violent set-pieces and will just give more fuel to the people who are railing against it without having actually seen it. It makes it appear that the film is just about the violence and little more which is a pretty bad foundation to form a review on.

Sam Jones

We live in a world where mainstream torture franchaises inspire theme park rides. If pointless sadism and nihilism are the order of the day in the big studios output, a film that makes the audience question it's attitudes to screen violence needs to out do films that make light such horrors in order to shake certain sections of the audience out of their complacency.

Nigel Floyd

Yes, I saw both the cut and the uncut versions of A Serbian Film. It might be argued that the BBFC should have considered banning the film outright rather than filleting it in such a serious, conscientious and thoughtful manner. However, most of the 49 cuts, of which I have seen a detailed list, were made in order to comply with the law against the portrayal of children in a sexualised or abusive context. They were therefore unavoidable, whatever their alleged effect on the film's artistic integrity. It is also absurd to suggest the BBFC's cuts 'reduce' the content of the film to exploitation. In their original, uncut form these scenes are far more exploitative.  While I accept that the director and his scriptwriter believe A Serbian Film to be a serious, confrontational satire, I believe that the film lost control of both the excessively graphic material and its own central argument. The effect of the film is therefore to punish the audience - rather than the Serbian authorities allegedly responsible for 'the fascism of political correctness'. As if we, the viewers, are not simply complicit in this state of affairs, but ultimately responsible for it. This is both inconsistent and insulting, suggesting that we lack the moral intelligence to see through what he regards as the obscenity of 'compassion porn' or 'the pornography of the victim'. Unless someone more knowing is applying a metaphorical electrical shock to our sensitive parts. The difference between Piranha 3D and A Serbian Film is that the former knows that it is irredeemable trash, whereas the latter demands to be taken seriously as Art. But with great art comes great responsibility, and A Serbian Film's irresponsible use of extreme imagery undermines its own sincerely made arguments.

Tim Porter

This is by far the best film of 2010. It's not only intelligent, profoundly moving and ultimately one of the most visually stunning as well. The cut version does not follow the directors vision, it alters the majority of the content and reduces it to exploitation. The BBFC have destroyed this film and you have ever right to not support this version. Nigel may I ask have you see it uncut to make such a statement? It's not for everyone and never was meant too. Too many reviews have taken the film out of context and just highlight the more stronger content it has. You must realise that your comments about this just as what the bbfc have done raises the notorioity of it. You should restrain plot spoilers as it takes the film out of context and attracts a different audience entirely. This is an important film, my concern is your support for worthless trash like Piranha 3D and you condemn important horror cinema.

Tim Porter

This is by far the best film of 2010. It's not only intelligent, profoundly moving and ultimately one of the most visually stunning as well. The cut version does not follow the directors vision, it alters the majority of the content and reduces it to exploitation. The BBFC have destroyed this film and you have ever right to not support this version. Nigel may I ask have you see it uncut to make such a statement? It's not for everyone and never was meant too. Too many reviews have taken the film out of context and just highlight the more stronger content it has. You must realise that your comments about this just as what the bbfc have done raises the notorioity of it. You should restrain plot spoilers as it takes the film out of context and attracts a different audience entirely. This is an important film, my concern is your support for worthless trash like Piranha 3D and you condemn important horror cinema.