Milos is a former p*rn star who is down on his luck financially. When he receives a call from his long-time movie actress partner, Layla, he welcomes her call. Apparently she’s heard that a new film director wants to hire Milos to star in his “artistically-designed” p*rn film for a very generous price. He is easily lured form his semi-retirement by the lucrative offer, agreeing to meet the director in an isolated mansion.
As the filming progresses, Milo begins to suspect that the director’s intentions may be darker than mere p*rnography. As the film begins to devolve into a horrifically violent production, Milos finds escape may not be an option.
“A Serbian Film” has garnered much public controversy and response in the months proceeding it’s release. As with a few titles this year that have done so such as “Human Centipede” and “Antichrist”, “A Serbian Film’s” reputation proceeds its release. Is that a good thing? Well PRE-sales, attention and headlines would suggest so, no matter how repulsing or off the edge it presents itself. So being a connoisseur of what extremes filmmaking will go, I had anticipated this release as well. “A Serbian film” is indeed Serbian but is also a well made movie. In other words…..no shaky hand helds approach, reality p*rn or cheap camera tricks to sell us on its realism. It’s not meant to be real but the reaction and the gnawing pit in your stomach may be.
In basic premise, the movies centers on Milo (Srdjan Todorovic) a famous ex p*rn star, who is now retired with his wife and kids. His reputation is still well known as he has contributed to several p*rno films over the years. In his retirement, he finds himself now a poor man trying to live down his past and dealing with his need to be a better father figure regardless of past exploits.
Through out the arena of p*rn movies, he is known as an artist in the field being able to sustain, perform on command and rise above what most men are capable of. Though that’s the past and buried with his prior film career. Years later he is approached by an old friend in the business who per request has been asked to seek him out to consider a contract arrangement. This leads him to the wealthy estate of one man named Vukmir. Vukmir, who is fan of Milos wants to offer him a contract to perform for his films. The events and content are to be a mystery as the film plays out. A contract is presented and the amount of $ is too hard to pass up for Milo and his current financial needs.
He agrees. Milo is brought in wearing an earphone for instructions and experiences the film as it plays out in real time. Camera men record the details and Milo participates even under the enigmatic circumstances. Though as the film progresses, it becomes more violent, and strangely orchestrated as a young girl starts to appear in the scenes as a voyeur. This in itself is troubling to Milo who wants out of the contract.
Now before this begins to sound routine and general keep in mind the film features some truly disturbing moments. One of which I wont reveal but will answer the question what does NBP stand for? As a viewer, we know it’s fiction, we know it’s a film, but our moral instincts are completely horrified at the site and thought of what unveils. This, however nasty as it may be is true engagement art that finds its way into our inner moral compass that triggers “we’ve seen too much”.
The violence increases, and the level of taboo invasion. Vukmir, doesn’t take kindly to contract breaking which leads him to drug Milo as Milo struggles to remember what had happened over the last few days.
It should be said also that while the film is no p*rno it does show full body nudity, full frontal and various sexual acts that run a fine gray line between fiction and p*rn. After all, the premise is based on a former p*rno star and his job. There is plenty of real sex that’s pretty graphic, though I’m tending to believe that they used “some” props by the angles that were filmed. However point made… Really it’s not the p*rn-esque aspects that are troublesome.
What will really bother viewers is the last act which is hard to fully comment on without giving the film away. But I can tell you that there is plenty of extreme over the top violent/ sexually and morally wrong scenes that will stay with you long after the film. Because the film was so well made and the scenes are so atrocious, it instantly has placed it in the top most disturbing films of all time, hands down. I’m sure you’ll agree after the fact.
This is a film that will be talked about for some time. It may also represent the edge of limits met in the cinematic category and crossing of several taboos at once. I end this review with the comment that with each atrocity met, there is always another waiting in the wings to top it. There’s plenty of disturbingly badly shot films especially in the Asian markets, though its the good films that have plot, premise and emotionally draining aspects that stay with us the longest. Hail to a new king, for whatever that conquest suggests.
A Serbian Film (2010)