SRPSKI FILM vs HARRY KNOWLES
Srpski Film aka SERBIAN FILM is already on its way to becoming a notorious film. This is something that a little bit of excess here or there graphically can provide with little to no skill. I can’t even begin to tell you how many schlocky graphically intense films I’ve been shown in my life that all “Had To Be Seen To Be Believed”.
There are very few that I can then recommend to you, my audience here at AICN.
SERBIAN FILM is a brilliant movie. The very best film that I saw at SXSW 2010. I say that not with a tongue in my cheek, some wicked friendly relationship with the filmmakers… none of that. SERBIAN FILM is so much more than the very little “over the top” imagery that it contains.
Imagine a film written by Paul Schrader at the height of his seventies super powers directed with the handsome presentation of a David Fincher. Now imagine that their subject matter is the very scary world of avant garde illegal former Soviet block Porn production. If you remember a film I recommended way back in 2002, DEMONLOVER, a film featuring Chloe Sevigny, Gina Gershon and some other cool folks – in a way, SERBIAN FILM is the dream film dealing with rough subject matters.
This is an incredibly handsome film, very very Western in its story-telling. Like all films dealing with the “Rabbit Hole” plotline, the movie begins by showing us just what a wonderful family man, Milos the famous porn god is. Milos is retired from porn. Has a stunning wife, a cute kid. But an old co-worker of his, someone he helped make famous with his famous cock. She wants him to get back into the game with the latest holy shit offer of untold fabulous amounts of money TO DO PORN.
Now the main thing about this Milos guy is this. He’s very charismatic. This actor is fantastic…. As perfect for this character as DeNiro was in TAXI DRIVER. He’s just the right guy. You absolutely believe him, his family, his brother who fantasizes about his wife… the whole thing, it just seems right. He doesn’t live in a palace, it is a very middle class looking life style. Apparently the money he’s being offered for this return to the game… could bump him up to the next lifestyle bubble.
The other MAIN character is the mad genius porn director that nobody has any record of… who apparently was a leading Child Psychologist. This actor, who again, I just do not know… He’s perfect. He’s that right layer of slime for the role. He has about as much “Eww” as you’d expect from an Eastern European Porn Director with a Vision. But the actor is perfect. Perfect because… Yeah, run. Seriously, run. If a man that used to be a great Child Psychologist offers you unbelievably fabulous money to star in a porn fucking “to be revealed later” in “situation to be disclosed later” – RUN. Seriously, just fucking run. The actor just sells it. Just don’t accept the offer.
But it is a lot of money. Life changingly ludicrous gobs of money.
For what? 4 days of fucking tops? Sure, why not?
Now for the difficult part. How to describe the rabbit hole that our “hero” plummets through?
I’ve been struggling with this for weeks. I dearly love this movie specifically because I didn’t know the twists and the turns. I love the film because I was expecting something that would probably come across cheap, instead it looks as handsome as the most prestigious film from a major studio.
The first day of shooting is just a little fucked up. Nothing so much as to make you run screaming for your life… but if you know anything about foreshadow, than anyone with the critical mind could imagine where this “artisitic genius of a porn auteur” might be headed. You’d be wrong, but still. It is weird enough that you could lose an erection, or become rock harder, depending on your own degree of wrongitude.
Now at this film’s most intense, it is not… to me… more traumatic than NEKROMANTIK 2, but it is as dark a film as they come. Lovecraft would be proud of this descent into madness ending. However, the ending is exactly the ending it needs to be.
I would fully expect this film to be shortened by a minute or two for domestic distribution. I completely get this situation because in its current state, there are a handful of theaters in the United States that would have the chutzpah to show the film that was shown at Midnight at the Alamo Drafthouse South in Austin. That’s not a false praise, it is a reality.
This is a film that when the prints were made… twice, the film developer burned those prints because they didn’t understand what they were looking at. This is a film that without breaking any major rules… seems to, but again if you take a very reasoned look at what you are seeing at any given moment, you realize what you are not seeing onscreen at the same time.
That said – there is some very realistic simulation of things that in various states, could be deemed illegal – thus, the film will require a few snips. This sucks, but this is the way it is… until there are more theater owners with backbone and integrity to show the best of cinema, no matter its subject matter… until there are distributors that wish to return us to challenging and difficult subject matters told brilliantly… well, until they pick up a film like this. A film that frankly is very very accomplished. A distributor that understands the value of getting it shut down in a few intolerant communities – in order to sell the film in the liberal godless markets in this widely diverse country of ours. This is a film to wake the ire of the right, and bring down the awesome of those that support the arts.
SERBIAN FILM demands to be seen by folks like you that read this site, this is a film that deserves that same kind of demand it support that got PARANORMAL ACTIVITY going… but even that miracle release needed a studio to have the balls to release it and get behind it when the word called for it.
I really do hope you good folks get to see this movie. It is tremendous. One of the best “EXTREME” films to come along in the history of this site. Think of films like OLDBOY, SYMPATHY FOR MR VENGEANCE, IRREVERSIBLE, etc. You know the titles. They’re the films that if you have it, you’ve shown to others – introducing the titles because no studio really did.
I pray that SERBIAN FILM has that kind of future at the very least. We should all be so lucky to see it.