Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rewatching the Unseeable: A SERBIAN FILM DOUBLE TAKE

January 22, 2011: Jimmy Terror watches A Serbian Film. Writes a blog about “trauma” he hath endured. Terror encourages you to hug your loved ones. Terror encourages you not to see this movie because there’s no reason to subject yourself to the taboo breaking action of A Serbian Film. Terror says along with many of his fellow reviewers that you cannot unsee this movie.

Jimmy Terror now says, “why would you want to unsee it?”

Spoilers… Make sure you eat all your green beans.

At that time I thought that I would never watch the film again, but things have changed, but it didn’t happen over night. Over the course of an entire year I allowed the images in this film to steep. I mean, what’s a little pedophilia between consenting dead people, right? Milos and the family are dead. They’re pain ended in the final scene; until the sequel that is if Srdjan Todorovic plans to make one which I would highly doubt given the commentary made on the film. If there’s anything left to say about Serbia or as Vukmir affectionately referred to it, the kindergarten country. There’s time enough to think about sequels once everyone gets out of jail for trying to distribute or exhibit the film in countries that can’t handle the finer points of necrophilia.

What happened over the last year was a dialogue with friends about the content in the movie. The “trauma” I endured came out in the social media wash and now I have watched many of the offending scenes in the movie quite a few times. I’ve listened to the soundtrack. I’ve made jokes at the expense of characters I previously felt a truly amazing amount of sympathy for. Does that mean that A Serbian Film has lost its edge? Nah, it’s still brutal, but it’s still just a movie. Actors are all still reasonably alive. I mean at the very least nobody was traumatized. Nobody was raped. Nobody died. No babies were used as condoms in all reality. I didn’t have to repeat to myself ad naseum that it was only a movie; that feeling came quite naturally after a few run ins with the horror community.

I’ve set up a little experiment for myself mid year. I told myself that I would re watch A Serbian Film in January of this year, one year after my initial encounter with that film. This past weekend, while everyone was snug in their beds I watched the film again. Here are my impressions ONE YEAR LATER.

Srdjan Todorovic is an animal in the sack. He’s quite a good actor although there’s something that an English speaking audience will never actually know about the performance given by an actor speaking a foreign language. How do I know that the dialogue wasn’t for shit? How do I know that he delivered lines well? I mean, I know that the subtitled dialogue was just dandy and Todorovic’s facial expressions were very believable, but I’ll never know if his ability to deliver lines was any good. I’ve been thinking about that quite a bit recently. What if I had watched A Serbian Film dubbed or could speak another language and read the subtitles in say, German. Does the feeling change? It really doesn’t matter, but I thought about through the whole movie.

I pretty much love all the acting in this film but few performances stick out more in a film that I saw last year than Todorovic playing Milos. I love Milos’ wife. I love the discussion of “wheels’ used to discuss feelings of sexual excitement. The porn stars look like real porn stars (important). I did have the feeling like I was watching a bunch of extras from the movie Hostel, but I think that’s to be expected in a film about/shot in Eastern Europe. I think I have a thing for the Eastern Euro broads.

It’s really a great story, but I think overall there’s nothing new about it. Sure, Milos is an ex-porn star, but he could have been an ex garbage man who had to pick up garbage in some spectacular fashion. His profession opens the door to the type of debauchery that ensues, but I think we’ve seen movies about ex-hitmen forced to do one last kill and something goes amiss with said kill.

The juicy bits (those would be the super naughties). Well I can see why I was so shocked. First time watching a necropedophilia can really twist your hearts strings, knot them and then use scissors to untie them. Was it as bad as I remember it? Nah. They do such a great job at disguising the whole thing. I was a victim of the pure shock of having not experienced A Serbian Film previously. That would make me a total pussy. I can accept that. Beyond the finale (or near finale), the newborn baby porn… that got me. C’mon! I just had a baby for fuck’s sake of course its going to get to me. I can safely say that that particular image may never get any easier to watch. I mean even the I Spit on Your Grave rape sequence has gotten easier over time so I might be pulling a little bit of the overdrama down you, but it’s a great scene. It hits you exactly where it’s supposed to hit you. It disturbs you for all the right reasons and I’m glad that they did it. If you’re reading this having not watched the movie than you pretty much know what you’re up against now. Think jerk sock. Then make it a living breathing being. Then make that a brand new human being. Rough!

That scene where Milos is all hopped up on animal Viagra and made to pork that nice young lady strapped to the table… was hot. Even when the son of a bitch cuts her head off with several wacks. The blood looks great. Intense sexuality… I mean I’m not going to put it on my spank list for 2011 (and you don’t get to ask what a spank list is), but I’m going to make sure to go “Whoa!” every time.

My dad likes to drive around listening to the theme music from the Sopranos. I think I’d like to drive around listening to the end music from A Serbian Film. Can you imagine trying to explain to people what movie that from? This go around I watched it on a 52 inch screen with surround sound. Last time it was only a widescreen computer monitor. Maybe next time we catch a theatrical run (yeah right).

I’m sure I’ll see more shocking things than A Serbian Film. Hell, I saw Thriller for the first time this year and that put me off… and the got me off… I’m a total sick fuck in that regard (these are the jokes people). It’s a nice benchmark to have. A movie with some real taboos. I’d like to see a more broadly release uncut edition. The version I got came from Diabolik DVD, has a white cover and a little yellow X in the corner of the movie every time a scene would have been censored. It’s not a Blu Ray though and this film would be amazing in that capacity. I love the various packaging out there. The cover art/poster art has always impressed me, but with the color variations in various editions its gives one something to consider collecting.

I liked it then, and I liked it more on the second full viewing. I’m excited to watch it next January and talk about it again; hopefully in some context involving a film that claims to have topped it taboo bending nature. I still want you to hug your family after you watch it though. The end sequence is pretty darn sad or maybe that’s me being a mush again. I keep asking myself if that family could have gone to therapy for a fews years to recover from their trauma. No idea. I know there’s a bigger picture here; that A Serbian Film is supposed to be a metaphor for the entire nation of Serbia. I don’t think I really cared about all that on this viewing. I just enjoyed the gratuitous violence and sexy porno ladies. Is that too hard to admit?

-Dr. Terror


  1. Christmas of 2010 a bunch of my friends and I got together and they told me to bring the most fucked up movie I had. I brought this particular flick. I figured it had enough holly jolly good cheer to go around, right? Lets just say that particular request has never come my way again. Most of them, ,and these are sick bastards mind you, were traumatized. Two people dug the movie as much as I did. They are now the other 2 members of EC3. I'm glad you're one who can see the artistry behind Serbian Film. Way too many otherwise smart people have decried it as gratuitous filth.