I’m terribly conflicted about “A Serbian Film,” arguably the most infamous of infamous movies.
In the last 16 years, only three movies have been banned in the historically accepting and cultured nation of Norway – “Ichi the Killer,” “Grotesque” and “A Serbian Film.” Norway was only one of 46 countries to ban the film. In America, “A Serbian Film” required 19 minutes of cuts to attain an NC-17 rating, which is a record number of minutes.
“A Serbian Film” is about Milos, a washed-out male porn star (who looks oddly like Bill Paxton) recruited to perform in an artistic pornographic movie. I literally can’t write about some of the unspeakable things that take place in this movie. Suffice it to say that some acts end with “philia,” and Milos only gets it done thanks to injections of bovine Viagra.
I watched the edited version, which has like four minutes cut out, on YouTube, because neither Neflix nor Amazon carried the movie. It might have been those four-plus minutes that saved me.
Obviously, I can’t say that I “liked” or “enjoyed” this movie, but I did appreciate it. It’s brutal and at times virtually unwatchable, but it does have a point and a purpose.
Director Srđan Spasojević views the film as brutal for the purposes of political critique, describing fiendish character Vukmir as “an exaggerated representation of the new European film order ... In Eastern Europe, you cannot get your film financed unless you have a barefoot girl who cries on the streets, or some story about war victims in our region ... the Western world has lost feelings, so they’re searching for false ones; they want to buy feelings.”
I can’t say I caught all that, but “A Serbian Film,” which is actually shot with grim professionalism, does a good job of making Milos a sad and sympathetic character trapped in a nightmare of revolting sex and desperation.
It doesn’t end well … but you probably figured that out.