Since the birth of motion pictures, there have existed movies that deliberately set out to challenge and provoke viewer’s sensibilities. These explosive films finally broke into the mainstream in the '60s and '70s, as ever more relaxed social and religious boundaries, finally enabled film-makers to create their own visions.
This eventually led to a number of extreme exploitation films, created under such audacious titles as: the Cannibal film, Nazisploitation, Nunsploitation, as well as the Giallo and its popular American cousin the Slasher film. These B to Z provocateurs of cinema continued right through to the ‘80s, until all of the dirty little genres were seemingly swept under the carpet. Instead '90s audiences turned to bigger budgeted, crowd pleasing Hollywood effects extravaganzas.
Of course that didn't mean extreme cinema was dead, in fact it returned stronger than ever, as a new set of wild European and Asian film-makers, started churning out movies that can only be described as sick endurance tests, for unsuspecting viewers. ‘Battle Royale’ (2000), ‘Irreversible’ (2002), ‘Martyrs’ (2008), 'The Human Centipede' (2009) and of course the vilest of all these, 'A Serbian Movie' (2011).
After years of Living peacefully with his wife Marija and his 6 year old son, Petar, retired porn star Miloš, agrees to one last job, in the hopes of securing his family’s financial future. The part he is offered is in a secret production by Vukmir Vukmir, a well-connected, independent pornographer. No Sooner has Miloš begun filming when he senses something is frighteningly wrong. As his first scene requires him to receive fellatio from a woman, while video of her pre-teen daughter seductively sucking on an ice lolly is projected around him. The situation only continues to escalate thereafter, as he is coursed into ever greater acts of stark, brutal degradation including: unwatchable levels of misogyny, rape, decapitation, and unbeknownst incestuous intercourse.
Even with all these horrors, the greatest of all the films sins isn't carried out by the put upon Miloš, but by another. I am of course talking about the vile and downright unforgivable...'newborn porn'! Soon into ‘A Serbian Film’ a hooded man delivers, and then begins violating a newborn infant. With this one vile act, I completely turned against the movie, and its makers. This kind of content cannot, and should not be excused or forgiven. I would consider myself far from prudish, but there are two things I never want to see on screen: real life animal cruelty (Cannibal Holocaust), and sexual violence toward children. There has to a line drawn somewhere when it comes to cinematic content. The most worrying aspect is that now that the bar has been raised, what will someone else conjure up to outdo it?.
It may seem hypocritical to be deriding this 'A Serbian Film' so strongly, what with me being the reviewer and fan, of countless movies that feature similar violence towards women, childern and animals. Don't get me wrong, while I fully support the idea of an adult being allowed to choose their own content, and I am totally against censorship. When it comes to films like this, you can’t help but think maybe there is a need for a classification board after all. As this, and the outrageous 'Human Centipede 2', continue to expand the ever widening level of derogation seen in films today, the question is: What will appear next to outdo these wretched creations? And do we really want to see it?
Now that babies are the menu, and twisted rape has been brought to its filthy conclusion, will the next crop of horror movies try to outdo this, or will the genre revert back to a purer state, to cleanse itself of these sins?
According to Spasojević, the character of Vukmir is "an exaggerated representation of the new European film order ... the Western world has lost feelings, so they’re searching for false ones, they want to buy feelings." In another interview Spasojević is quoted as saying "my shocking 'A Serbian Film' exposes the fascism of political correctness". On the question of whether the violence depicted deals with Serbian soldiers and war crimes that they have committed, Spasojević answers: "'Srpski Film' does not touch upon war themes, but in a metaphorical way deals with the consequences of post-war society and a man that is exploited to the extreme in the name of securing the survival of his family”