DVD region 2. Revolver.
you've been living in a hole during 2010, you'll probably be aware
of A Serbian Film, which has left a trail of
outraged reviews, bans and general controversy in its wake since
it first appeared. The UK release has become a cause celebré,
with over four minutes sliced from it by the BBFC (a huge amount
by modern standards) - something that distributors Revolver have
admirably not tried to whitewash, even though it will certainly
mean fewer sales.
(Srdjan Todorovic) is a washed-up porn star who is tempted out
of retirement by Vukmir (Sergej Trifunovic), a wealthy and decidedly
creepy producer who claims that he is making 'art porn', but refuses
to tell Milos anything about the story. Unable to resist a huge
payday, the actor agrees to star, only to find himself caught
up ina nightmare world of violence and horror.
Serbian Film is challenging viewing, no question - though
anyone who has watched the more extreme end of low budget horror,
from Nekromantik to August Underground,
won't find it quite as shocking as mainstream critics.
That said, the juxtaposition of sex and violence -and the frequent
involvement of children - is pretty jaw-dropping and
thoroughly unnerving, and while I have no doubt that the film
is the political allegory that the makers claim - they labour
the point throughout the film after all - it's hard to accept
that at least some scenes - a man being skull-fucked through the
eye-socket by a hard cock for instance - were not included mainly
for shock value. There's nothing wrong with that, but
let's be honest about it.
the shock tactics though, this is a surprisingly well made film.
It looks slick, is well made and the plot structure - running
as straight narrative for the first hour before suddenly switching
to flashbacks - works well. The content might be upsetting for
some, but by any conventional cinematic standards, this is a good
movie - warped and brutal, but a good movie, helped enormously
by confident, adventurous direction and Todorovic's convincing
performance as a man who finds his life torn apart in unspeakable
here's what you really want to know - how do the cuts
affect the film? Well, of course they damage it considerably.
A few are smooth enough to be unnoticeable, others are jarringly
obvious and effectively destroy the scene in question, and none
are necessary. The fact is that what is left in remains taboo-breaking,
brutal, upsetting, and is just as likely to tip the unbalanced
over the edge as the cut material (i.e. it's very unlikely to).
I'd hoped we'd passed the days when the censors felt that they
could 'protect' people by cutting a few seconds here and there
- especially as past examples of this behaviour have long since
been reversed - but seemingly not.
imagine that many of you will have written this release off as
soon as those cuts were made. If not, I'll say that the UK version
is still powerful, disturbing stuff and certainly worth a look
if this is your only option. I'm not suggesting you'll enjoy it
particularly, but you certainly won't forget it. And it's unquestionably
the must-see film of the year.
DVD comes with an introduction from director Srdjan Spasojevic
as well as a recording of a Q&A at an unnamed screening.
IT NOW (UK) DVD