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October 24, 2011

Movie Review: A Serbian Film (2010, Blu-ray)

Srdjan Spasojevic's controversial  thriller A Serbian Film ( Srpski Film ) has gotten an incredible amount of attention over the past year and a half for being one of the most shocking films ever produced, as it's been banned and even bounced from film festivals. I tend to agree with that because for me it's up there with films like Men Behind the Sun, Salo, Happiness, Cannibal Holocaust for the fact that the filmmakers really don't give a fuck what the audience think when it comes to abhorrent content displayed on the screen. Invincible Pictures and MVD Entertainment have given America their first taste at an official release of this bleak, slice of Serbian apple pie.

Buy A Serbian Film Blu-ray or DVD

Milos (Syrdjan Toborovic) used to be the Eastern block's answer to John Holmes - hung like a horse with an out of this world sex drive. Things changed drastically for Milos after the former pornstar starts a family and has a son with his love, Marija ( Jelena Gavrilovic ). The life of Milos as a porn king is no longer. Soon bills start to pile up, desperation sets in and our "family man" has to take a gig that's brought to his attention by former onscreen screw. This isn't quite what he's done in his other erotic films - it's much more dangerous and perverse.

Unwittingly Milos is puppeterred into being and actor in a snuff film by a charismatic pornographer named Vukmir ( Sergej Trifunovic ). Vukmir promises the world to Milos and makes the acts of which Milos participate in look so simple. I've always thought of Serbia being a completely impoverished country. When you get to see Vukmir's posh mansion and neighborhood you could easily mistake it for Bel-Air. Even Milos' place looks better than any of my recent apartments.  

The acting in A Serbian Film is easily one of the most impressive qualities about the feature. Part of why the movie is so believable and disturbing is because of Toborovic's strong turn as Milos. As good as Toborovic is in A Serbian Film, Trifunovic's as Vukmir is all the more effective. He's truly an evil bastard.

A Serbian Film has been called an art film by numerous critics, it's also supposed to be loaded with political commentary that writers Spasojevic and Aleksander Radivojevic injected into the script. While it's a gorgeous film and may have "artistic" touches I have to call bullshit on that. A Serbian Film has about as much artistic merit as Joel M. Reed's Bloodsucking Freaks. It's just a bigger budgeted exploitation film, that has capable actors and a strong script . This is what I believe Spasojevic set out to do but it's his way of rationalising the sickening content.


This American release of A Serbian Film is slightly cut as compared to the uncut version. The cuts are slight here, the biggest being the "Newborn Porn" scene. If you viewed the uncut version there's a graphic shot of a woman giving birth, once the baby has exited, a fat bald slob begins to have his way with the kid. The thought of the whole scene is beyond horrific but it's execution is more laughable than disturbing, at least to me. Regardless, it's been snipped. The editing isn't choppy though and I think will still go or for those who haven't seen the film. In my opinion the most shocking scene in the film is at the end, and that's all here in this version. Aside from said scene, if there are other cuts they are very minimal.

*End Spoilers*

Invincible Pictures hasn't provided really any extras for the film as there's just a chapter selection on the menu, but you do get a voucher for a free download. Image and sound on the Blu-ray is great. The movie is just a few years old so there really shouldn't be too many issues with quality, even so it's a nice representation.

A Serbian Film will never be confused with a Frank Capra classic, but hey it is what it is - a vile cinematic trip through a dark world of human degradation and evil rarely explored on celluloid. Recommended.

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