A Serbian Film
A Serbian Film is a 2010 Serbian romantic comedy produced and directed by Srđan Spasojević, in his feature film debut. It tells the touching story of a financially struggling porn star who agrees to participate in an "art film", only to discover that he has been drafted into a snuff film with child rape and necrophiliac themes. The film was awarded the highly prestigious Pedobear Seal of Approval™.
Upon its debut on the art film circuit, the film received substantial attention for its graphic depictions of rape, necrophilia, and child sexual abuse. The film has been banned in Spain, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Norway, and temporarily banned from screening in Brazil.
Semi-retired porn star Miloš lives with his wife, Marija, and six-year-old son, Petar. His brother, Marko, a corrupt police officer, is attracted to Marija and is jealous of Miloš's sexual prowess. Marija is curious about her husband's past and is concerned about the family's income. Lejla, a former co-star, offers Miloš a starring role in an art film directed by Vukmir, an independent pornographer, who wishes to cast Miloš for his powerful erection. Having already caught Petar watching one of his films and unaware of the details of Vukmir's film, Miloš is hesitant to participate and continue his career, but accepts to secure his family's financial future. While meeting Vukmir, Miloš passes a bald man and his entourage, regarding them warily. Filming begins at an orphanage, where Vukmir feeds Miloš instructions through an earpiece given by Vukmir's driver, Raša, while a film crew follows him. Miloš sees a young girl, Jeca, physically abused and scolded by her mother, who has disgraced her deceased war hero husband's memory by becoming a prostitute. In a dark room, screens show Jeca seductively eating an ice pop, while Miloš gets a blowjob from a nurse. Then, Miloš is instructed to get another blowjob from the mother, while Jeca watches. Miloš refuses, but is forced to continue. Marko later informs him that Vukmir is a former psychologist and has worked in children's television and state security. Miloš meets with Vukmir, announcing that he is retiring and dropping out of the film, but Vukmir explains to a hesitant Miloš his artistic style of pornography, showing a film of a woman giving birth to a newborn baby, which is then immediately raped by Raša. The disgusted and horrified Miloš storms out and drives away as Vukmir boasts to him that this is "a new genre" and that he terms it as "newborn porn". At a road junction, being in a disturbed state of mind, he is approached and seduced by an attractive woman who, unbeknownst to him, is Vukmir's female doctor. A bloodied Miloš wakes up in his bed the next morning with no memory of what has happened. He returns to the now abandoned set and finds a number of tapes. Viewing them, Miloš discovers that he was drugged to induce an aggressive, sexually aroused, and suggestible state. At Vukmir's manipulative direction, Miloš beat and decapitated Jeca's mother while raping her and was later raped by Raša. He then watches footage of Lejla voicing concern for Miloš to Vukmir, stating that she is quitting and taking Miloš with her. A bloodied Lejla is then shown restrained, with a blood puddle and several teeth in the floor right in front of her. A masked man appears and she is forced to suck him, suffocating her to death. The footage continues as Miloš is led to Jeca's home, where an elderly woman praises him for killing her mother, laments about Jeca's father dying before he "made her a woman", and offers Jeca as a "virgin commune". Miloš refuses, threatens to cut off his penis with a knife, and escapes through a window. After wandering the streets for a while, he ends up huddling in an alleyway, where he watches as a teenage girl passes by while being tailed by a pair of thugs. He begins masturbating and is assaulted by the thugs before they are killed by Raša, who along with Vukmir takes Miloš to a warehouse. At the warehouse, Vukmir's doctor administers more drugs to Miloš, who in an angry outburst sticks a syringe into her neck, rendering her unconscious from the overdose. He is then taken into a big room, where he is conducted to have intercourse with two hidden bodies placed under sheets and with bags on their heads. Miloš furiously begins penetrating them while keeping them restrained, and as he swaps from one onto the other, the masked man from Lejla's film enters and begins raping the first. Vukmir then reveals the masked man to be Marko, his victim to be Marija, and finally, that Miloš is raping Petar. At this moment, the agonizing female doctor enters the room, with her crotch entirely covered in blood and a bloody pipe on her hand, attracting everyone's attention before collapsing dead. Snapping, an enraged Miloš lunges at Vukmir and repeatedly smashes his head against the floor, initiating a brawl during which Marija bites off a piece of Marko's neck, then bludgeons him to death with a sculpture. Miloš wrestles with the guards and seizes one of their guns, shooting both of them and injuring the one-eyed Raša, whom he kills by ramming his erect penis into his empty eye socket. During all of this, a dying Vukmir praises Miloš's actions as truly worthy of cinema. Miloš, having recalled his actions up to that point, including locking his wife and son in their basement before passing out earlier, smashes Marko's head with the sculpture in a fit of impotence and despair, before returning home to find both of them in shock, with Petar totally unresponsive. After coping with the matter for hours, Miloš and his wife ultimately agree, in silence, that they and their son should die together, so the three gather in bed and embrace before Miloš fires a fatal shot through himself, Petar and Marija. Sometime later, a new film crew, including the bald man from the beginning of the film, is shown recording in the bedroom. One of the security guards begins to unzip his pants and the director, the unnamed bald man, advises him to "start with the little one".
- In September 2011, without any official explanation, Netflix removed the film from their list of titles available for viewing, and from their in-site search results. It remains available in uncensored form on other major online DVD sites.
- A Serbian Film was banned by a court in San Sebastián, Spain for "threatening sexual freedom" and thus could not be shown in the XXI Semana de Cine Fantástico y de Terror (21st Horror and Fantasy Film Festival). The film was shown at an adults-only screening at the Spanish Sitges Film Festival during October 2010. As a result, the festival's director Ángel Sala was charged with exhibiting child pornography by the Spanish prosecutor who decided to take action in May 2011 after receiving a complaint ironically from a Roman Catholic organization over a pair of scenes involving the rapes of a young child and a newborn. The charges were later dropped.
- Upon initial release, the FSK (German motion picture rating organisation) ordered that the film be refused classification due to concerns that the content may violate German federal law.
On 30 June 2011, a version was allowed with 13 minutes cut, and was rated "No release to youths" (released to age 18 or older, German: Keine Jugendfreigabe).
- The film was banned in Norway after two months of sales as it was found to be in violation of criminal law (namely sections 204a and 382, which deal with the sexual representation of children and extreme violence).
- The film was temporarily banned for screening in Brazil. Although the film was given a "not recommended for those under the age of 18, due to depictions of sex, pedophilia, violence and cruelty" rating by the Dejus, a legal decision banned it temporarily due to its content "offending the government of Brazil". This was the first time a film was banned in Brazil since the promulgation of the 1988 Constitution. On 5 July 2012, this decision was overturned.
- The uncut version and a second version with 2 minutes cut were refused classification before a third version with 3 minutes and 55 seconds cut was passed with an R18+ classification.
Before its release, major Australian DVD retailer JB Hi-Fi announced that they would not be distributing the film, either online or in physical stores. They attributed this to the "Disturbing content of the film" and to a disagreement with the (then) R18+ rating. However, the film was available from this retailer for a time. It was refused classification and thus effectively banned in South Australia just days before its release date. On 19 September 2011, the Australian Classification Review Board also rated the film "Refused Classification", effectively banning the film from distribution Australia-wide. According to the Review Board, "A Serbian Film could not be accommodated within the R18+ classification as the level of depictions of sexual violence, themes of incest, and depictions of child sexual abuse in the film has an impact which is very high and not justified by context." Accordingly, the film is banned in Australia.
- On 25 May 2012, the film was banned outright by the New Zealand Office of Film & Literature Classification.
- On 24 August 2012, the film was rejected and banned without question by the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia.
- On 24 August 2012, the same day, it was banned in Singapore due to its content being "likely to cause controversy in Singapore".
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