The film is about a Serbian porn star named Miloš whose once illustrious career has taken a back-seat to his family life and to a benign sort of alcoholism. He receives notice from an old colleague about a lucrative filming opportunity, which, you guessed it, is his downfall (lightly speaking).
Miloš meets a director named Vukmir, a wealthy pornographer that’s hell-bent on certain “artistic” ideologies, keeps the star of his film in the dark until its too late to escape the most soul-annihilating of acts.
There’s a longer trailer out there, but you should know it’s all child’s play without context. (Update: This trailer did work at one point, but I’m going to keep the dead link on this post for aesthetics.)
I won’t summarize or reiterate the happenings in the film since you can find detailed accounts on Wikipedia, but like Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, the work shows aspects of life and death through such macabre and brutal lenses that you can’t help but marvel at them, which at certain points, lends a sort of comicality, which is always nice.
At the South by Southwest screening of the movie in Austin, Spasojević, the director, elucidated the public on the political agenda of A Serbian Film:
This is a diary of our own molestation by the Serbian government…It’s about the monolithic power of leaders who hypnotize you to do things you don’t want to do…You have to feel the violence to know what it’s about.
New criticism makes it easier to continue this meager review without getting entrenched by political histories.
I enjoyed how, throughout the film, I knew things were just going to get progressively worse, and I found that to be a comfort of sorts–just one blood-gurgling hurdle after the next.
But what’s to be said for the indelible images this movie has to offer?
Nobody eats poop or dismembers children! Albert Fish did both of these things, in real life, along with many other
fascinating unspeakable acts.
There’s a deranged intelligence to this film, the kind that wants to prove a point about the mind and its inability to “unsee” certain images, as Scott Weinberg terms in his review.
Horror films, by definition, are designed to elicit fear and disgust, and so I happen to think A Serbian Film to be exemplar in these respects–I just don’t think I’ll be watching it again anytime soon, unless I run out of ideas for a first-date.