Monday, October 17, 2011
A SERBIAN FILM
Welcome to the absolute most dire of cinematic dregs. The lowest low in movie history. The bottom of the barrel has rotted through, leaving the filmmakers of A Serbian Film, as well as it's audience, to burrow further into the soil beneath the barrel, like the flesh-hungry, corpse-feasting worms. To what or where you might be asking yourself? To the next level in a continual struggle in the horror film industry for the lowest common denominator? To chip away at an already deteriorating moral core? Or maybe, to simply flex political, artistic, and esoteric muscles to an increasingly apathetic world audience fed on the banal redundancy of PG-13 rated Hollywood horror, torture porn, remakes, and Saw sequels?
Dear reader, do not take my acquiescing of a Serbian Film with being a new low point mortally literal. Deconstruction and unlearning can be the fuel that furthers progress. But, when discussing horror films or shock cinema, it's important to make clear the intent, and the very essence of what makes these films resonate. The most effective horror films to date all seem to have one thing in common. Horror films, like capacitors in electronics, are vehicles for resistance. They are built to test the audience's limits in the realm of harrowing experience. Invariably, it's a race back to our primal fears, our dark recesses. Down the fabled rabbit hole to find a new lower end, to see just how much an audience can take. A true horror film's merit should leave it's viewers shattered, then reborn with new perspectives. Real horror films should act as a proverbial branch or sharp stone that in nature, would help us to slough off old dead skin or sharpen our claws, horns, and teeth. As Wes Craven puts it, "horror films are the boot camp for the psyche.'
Some horror films, especially the franchised contemporary lot, prefer to give the audience prerequisite information, holding the viewer's hand through a film's duration. Others, like Night Of The Living Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, Last House On The Left, I Spit On your Grave, Cannibal Holocaust, leave the viewer naked, in a hopeless cannibalistic nightmare reality without the slightest reprieve. Few films in horror cinema history have the gall to assault the viewer on so many levels as the above mentioned films. These hard-edged horrors seem to only come around every few years, almost out of nowhere. Independently crafted by unknown directors and casts who are hell-bent on lowering us into even darker territories. Shattering expectations forever, or at least for a while. With an almost calculable certainty, most contemporary critics will fervently pan and decry the intent of these types of films as being unethical, morally bankrupt, or even pornography.
Ironically, or perhaps intentionally? A Serbian Film's story revolves in the world of an aging ex porno actor, Milos, who is requested to star in a new experimental style of pornography. Knowing that his age is starting to show and that he has a family to support, Milos takes the job in hopes of acquiring enough money to free himself and his family of financial burdens for the rest of their lives. Unbeknownst to him, the movie that he is set to star in is planned to be the most realistically dehumanizing film project of all time. The involvement with said project brings an unrelenting terror into his life that has never before been witnessed in horror film history.
Without giving away much more than what the dvd and blu-ray distrubutors would in the synopsis portions of their packaging, Just know that A Serbian Film is a true cinematic force. To be quite honest, if you are not a seasoned veteran of shock cinema, you may want to build up a tolerance by watching some of the above mentioned shock classics. Or maybe stay away from A Serbian film all together. It's a heavily debated and detested film for a myriad of reasons and as such should be approached cautiously. You can't just watch it. It's not that easy. To say that you have "experienced" it, seems to be a more accurate description. For someone to say that they "like" or "love" A Serbian Film doesn't seem to truly hold the films undeniable weight either. It will rape, level, crush, and finally mark everyone who choses to stand in it's path. Saying that you "fear" or "respect" A Serbian Film may be a more honest appraisal.
So if you are up for a new, challenging, and ultimately nihilistic horror film experience, A Serbian film is your new high or low, depending on how you look at the philosophy and intent of the modern horror film.
Fun Facts about A Serbian film: There is nothing fun about A Serbian Film.