A Serbian Film (2010) Review



 Srdjan Spasojevic


 Aleksandar Radivojevic (screenplay), Srdjan Spasojevic (screenplay)


 Srdjan Todorovic, Sergej Trifunovic, Jelena Gavrilovic

They say that rape isn’t about sexual gratification; rather, the act is about power and dominance. A Serbian Film demonstrates this message in horrific detail. With an introduction which shows the son watching his father star in a softcore film, this movie clearly doesn’t want to hide it’s depraved intentions. The plot is about Milos, a fading porn actor being approached to star in his last smut film. However, as the movie progresses, it turns out this isn’t the normal production and film Milo is familiar with.

The prevailing theme of the story focuses on the idea of the nuclear family. This movie showcases how patriarchal dominance is exerted through sexuality and violence. The first act spends much of its time desensitized the act of sexual activity. This is made more clear when the wife ask why her husband, Milo, never has sex with her like he does with his former porn stars. He states it was because he loves her and that was a job. After the story moves on to act two, sexual acts become more brutal and their depictions are used as a form of dominance. By the time act three hits the top of its disturbing crescendo, we see sex and violence complete subvert the idea of family.

In the meantime, the writers also give forth some interesting philosophical subplots which may or may not have been fully realized by the time of climax. First, in the snuff film, an actess is introduced who becomes dominated by physical and sexual assaults. Next, Milo is shown a tape which depicts her giving birth to a baby which also becomes sexually assaulted. Although this is the point where the director of the snuff film gives privy to the overall themes behind his motivation, it’s quite hard to take him seriously and not view this as splatter porn when he is yelling, “I gave birth to Newborn porn”. Once more, the actress is shown as Milo is portrayed having sex with her before ending her life during his climax. Thus, ending the dominance cycle of sex and violence.

Although the film begins on a digital camera and looks cheap with boring camera angles, the screenplay really does save the day. There’s a point where we are watching found footage with the protagonist, and each tape shows just enough to pull the viewer in and discover what happens with the next tape. Also, the third act runs a parallel path with the protagonist and a flashback to his previous day. This mixed narrative keeps the pacing alive and doesn’t allow the viewer to flinch of walk away from this spiraling madness. Furthermore, although Milo begins with a picturesque family and as a warm father, by the time the movie hits its stride his violence and chopped up memory makes the audience really question this unreliable narrator. The production design also adds to the overall cerebral madness. The sound design has the eery hollow sounds combined with the industrial score and set production of industrial warehouse contrasting with the bright family home also added to the nightmarish tonality.

Overall, this is a movie which spirals down and beyond depravity while doing a wonderful macabre illustration of dominance through sex and violence. This movie isn’t for everyone nor does it pretend to be. It’s more for those who have an affinity for exploitation.

Clown Fatale (2013) Review

ImageClown Fatale follows the misadventures of four curvaceous circus clowns. After the ladies are witnessed stomping the fun out of some rapey patrons, they are  mistaken for another circus troupe who kill-for-hire on their off time. Each clown feels they have hit rock bottom, and they agree to the contract of kill the local cartel because according to them being a murderer is really only one step above being a circus clown anyways. What follows is a blood soaked version of The Man Who Knew Too Much with some heavy doses of Exploitation. Dinisio’s colors and Rosensweig’s artwork are sexy and explosive. Each character is well defined and never feel like a copy from the last caricature. Every violent collision is over the top and radically different from the last. For example, I couldn’t help but smile with delight watching Chloe light her last cigarette off the blazing hair of a screaming rodeo clown running by. Victor Gischler’s script remained straight as a bullet. He didn’t let exposition clutter up the messy fun. Instead, dubious backstories were only revealed enough to push the plot and characters forward, and they never felt contrived or clichéd. They were sensible reflections that help characterize why people are who they are. Also, because the characters never felt grandiose, it was much easier to relate to them and their motivations. One of the most surprising aspects of this comic was the female empowerment. The ladies start off being objectified, used and abused by the Man’s World. However, by the time the story boils over, not only have the clowns learn to defend themselves, but also the women were able to take control and make their own choices. It became quite poetic when Chloe gave one of the male aggressors a choice. He can rather shoot her with his last bullet but be burnt alive, or he can save himself from the pain and agony and take his own life. Honestly, when I picked this issue up, I Thought  it would get lost and forgotten in the endless depths of cleavage just like Lady Death or Grimm Fairy Tales. Instead, it became Dark Horse’s They Call Her One Eye of 2013.