A Serbian Film - A Serbian Film(Blu Ray) [Unearthed Films - 2021]
There are only a few films that manage to be both skilfully and classily made, yet also deeply shocking and highly disturbing- one such film is A Serbian Film. Released eleven years ago this year, the film's power to disturb, challenge, and unsettle hasn’t lessened. so, it’s great to see the folks at Unearthed giving the picture this great new Blu Ray release- which features a new completely uncut/uncensored print of the film, two commentary tracks, and a few other extras.
A Serbian Film (Srpski film) initially was banned in at least forty-seven countries when it first appeared in the year 2010. As its title suggests the film was made in Serbian, with its extreme and intense violent content commenting on the more troubling and problematic side of the country past and treatment of their people. It was the feature film directorial debut of Belgrade born Srdjan Spasojevic, and it’s impressive in both its classy and sleek look and of course, its extremely shocking-yet-inventively depraved violence.
The film focuses in Milos(Srdjan 'Zika' Todorovic) a retired and ageing porn star, who now has a family- his wife Marija( Jelena Gavrilovic) who works as a translator, and their young around five-year-old son Stefan(Luka Mijatovic). One day Milos is contacted by one of his old co-stars in porn Lejla(Katarina Zutic)- she says there’s a new director on the scene, willing to pay big money for Milos to return to Porn to make what he calls ‘art films’, after some consideration and look at his depleting savings he agrees to meet the director. He’s taken by a bouncer to a large and darkly plush house, where he meets the bearded and smart-talking Vukmir(Sergej Trifunovic)- who tells Milos he wants to make a pure porn film with him. He hands him to contract, and his fee is enough to set him up for life…though there is one issue, it’s all a secret what the film is about and what he’ll have to do. After a little thought and debate he agrees to sign the contract, reasoning how bad can it be…and what slowly but surely unfolds is well-timed and skilful executed series of depravity- that moves from roughing -up and forced Fellatio, onto the infamous newborn p*rn scene, brutal just before and after death sex, and beyond.
The whole thing is so well shot and skillfully scoped, with all the lead actors and most of the supporting actors been very good. Todorovic is great as the whisky drinking but ageing porn star, trying to do the best for his family, but lands up going to hell and back. Trifunovic is a perfect fit as the shady & sleek director, moving between deviously persuasive, disturbingly depraved, and a deranged mad man. Also, worth a mention Slobodan Bestic as Milos the decidedly sleazy and jealous cop brother of Marko. I’d say you’d need at least some grounding in extreme film to get through A Serbian Film, as it does really go deep into disturbing depravity, and the high production values and great acting sells it even more. It must be a good eight years since I last saw the film, after watching it a few times online- and I must say it still remains as impactful and shocking as ever.
Moving onto this new Blu Ray release- and we get a scan from the original 4k master, it looks simply amazing- highlighting how well the whole was filmed, and the effects still look great and impactful too. The first commentary track is with director Srdjan Spasojevic & Unearthed Films Stephen Biro - and this a marvellous chatty and fascinating affair- with the pair moving from discussing Spasojevic influences, onto how the actors selected were chosen and their qualities. They discuss locations, what and what isn’t sets, and this was one of the first 4K filmed pictures. They talk about how key scenes were cut and how these altered the point impact of the scene. They discuss about the time it took to film the more difficult, intense and disturbing scenes, and much more. Really a most worth-a -play track, that will answer more than a few questions you might have about the film, and everything related to it. The second commentary is from Joe Lynch and Adam Green of the Movie Crypt, and this is most entertaining and amusing as Green is seeing the film for the first time. So we get nice chatty banter, a dog having a good time with its squeaky toys, one of the two having sickness issues- again a very worthy track. On the other extras side, we get two separate Q & A- one from Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival, which runs forty-six minutes. Then one more recent one with the director and lead actress- this lasts twenty-eight. We get the making NB porn scene, this runs six minutes. There’s a three-minute show around the Serbian film exhibition, which was in states recently, and a three-minute Sneak Preview of A Serbian Documentary that’s due out soon. So a great selection of stuff.
It's so great to have this new fully uncut and wonderful-looking print of this modern extreme masterpiece out, and it’s great it’s been put out by Unearthed -one of the true long-term supporters of extreme cinema. Simply put a stellar release of this dangerous film, and it’s most certainly a must buy situation, if you enjoy any form of extreme art!.Roger Batty