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MADE IN SERBIA portrays the Serbian video porn industry by presenting four life stories of domestic porn actors. Unlike their Western counterparts, these people work in porn industry in ... See full summary »
In Serbia, the retired porn star Milos is married with his beloved wife Marija and they have a little son, Peter, that is their pride and joy. The family is facing financial difficulties, but out of the blue, Milos is contacted by the porn actress Lejla that offers him a job opportunity in an art film. Milos is introduced to the director Vukmir that offers a millionaire contract to Milos to act in a film. However, Vukmir neither show the screenplay nor tell the story to Milos. Milos discuss the proposal with Marija and he signs the contract. But sooner he finds that Vukmir and his crew are involved in sick snuff films of pedophilia, necrophilia and torture and there is no way back to him and maybe it is too late to protect his family. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A Serbian Film tells the terrible story of a retired adult film actor named Milos who gets far more than he bargained for when he accepts what he is led to believe is the role of a lifetime. His intentions are valiant. He needs the money so that he can leave the troubled country of Serbia and start a new life with his wife and his young son. He accepts the job based on the intriguing premise of what film director Vukmir tells him. It's a reality based pornographic art film in which Milos is supposed to instead act off of the reality of the situations he's brought into. However, things begin to get too weird when the reality begins to incorporate some sort of strange revenge fantasy. He tells Vukmir that he's backing out of the project and has no interest in continuing. Immediately following his declining, however, his life becomes a living nightmare of extremely depraved proportions.
A Serbian Film is easily the most disturbing film I have ever seen, alongside Schindler's List(the Academy Award winning Holocaust picture) and Threads(the BBC mockumentary about Nuclear war). This is a deeply troubling film and it left me feeling a great sadness and frustration. Part of what makes this film so emotional and devastating is the heavy (and I do mean HEAVY) exposition that makes up the entire first half of the film. We see the family that Milos has and we, as the audience, cannot help but admire how far he has come. He and his family may be poverty stricken, but they have as normal a life as a family like that can have. The wife is a non-judgmental, unassuming, mostly pleasant person who is faithful to Milos and doesn't fret at the fact that his profession of choice is what he is most known for in other circles. The son is as gentle-natured as a boy like that can be and, aside from viewing one of his father's films in the opening of the film, is completely normal and healthy. Then there's the brother of Milos, whom we only meet a few times and each time he seems like a sleazy, jealous, and unpleasant man. He is also a police officer, but he seems most distracted by Milos and his wife in particular. He has an unhealthy fascination with his family. Vukmir seems most suspicious out of everyone, but doesn't seem too crazy. He seems more eccentric, but that's true of a lot of filmmakers. The film takes it's time showing all these characters as fully rounded people who all have their little personality traits and their own agendas.
As a horror film it works wonderfully due to the suspense of the picture. It has a more classical way of plot development and depicting how it all comes together. A good chunk of the film is told in hyper real flashback, and so the audience spends a good amount of time wondering what the heck is going on and fearing the worst. I like how this film shows events. I like how the film also shows perspective when it comes to what happens. I think one of the more effective parts of this film comes toward the end when it suddenly dawns on us that this story is not going to have the usual horror film ending. This film's way of depicting tragedy is really interesting, because it relies more on personal torment and frustration in order to bring the audience into the situation that Milos has undergone and is still going through. It's a tricky technique, but somehow is works. It especially works when the film finally makes it's biggest revelation, which is just terrible and deeply heartbreaking, and then the horror doesn't stop there. What works the most about all this, however, is how unabashed and how bizarre and off-the-wall the nature of reality becomes as the film progresses. Director Srdjan Spasojevic creates such a chaotic world that we get involved in, and we, the audience, are led to believe that anything horrible and depraved could happen at any moment and there will be no limits.
This film, in terms of transgressive cinema that includes films such as Ex Drummer, Irreversible, Inside, Martyrs, and Possession, A Serbian Film is one of the best of it's kind. It's also one of the most effective films I've seen in years as well as one of the scariest. It's also disheartening, frustrating, and cruel. One thing I can definitely say though is that it's not gratuitous. It's beautifully made, it's heartbreakingly tragic, it's terribly realistic, and it's one of the most effective and well made films as well as one of the most disturbing. The big question is, does it work? Yes, it works. It works a little too well, but it works. So do I fault it for working? No. I praise it. I'm glad that films like this can still be made and I'm glad that filmmakers have the balls to go all the way with their vision. Inspired by the works of Alfred Hitchcock, Brian De Palma, David Cronenberg, and William Friedkin, this is Srdjan Spasojevic's first film, and I think a lot of Hollywood horror filmmakers could learn a thing or two from him. It's the most disturbing film I've ever seen, and I don't regret watching it for even a second.
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