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A Serbian FIlm

A Serbian Film

by Max Barashenkov vs. Andrew Kaufman / 18.11.2010

Do you remember when you got stoned and watched Eraserhead for the first time? When you dared yourself to witness the Hungarian shock-fest of Taxidermia? When you rewound the rape scene in Irreversible to make sure you did just see what you thought you saw? Do you recall the physical distress running through your body? The gut-punch of the celluloid fist? If you don’t, then perhaps this will not stir in you any emotion apart from disgust, because what A Serbian Film does, is make the above mentioned films look like High School Musical parodies. It is easily the most maliciously violent, sexually depraved, chauvinistic, satirical and realistic horror/drama made to date and one would be hard pressed to even imagine what could possibly out-do it. Gore-freaks, rejoice – your Jesus has arrived. Hollywood and the rest of the world – shudder at the might of the Serbian ‘fuck you’.

They tie the bruised girl facedown to the bed, like one would in an archaic exorcism. Men in dark suits stand in the corner doing their best to restrain our lead, who is so full of Spanish fly that saliva pours from his mouth onto his erect cock. Then, suddenly, he is free and inside her, raping her. She begins to moan and cry, you recoil in disgust, but it’s just beginning. The director screams, “She’s a junkie cunt, she destroyed her child… Sweet little Jeca watched her mother fuck the junky bums. She is scum! Hit the whore! Hit the bitch!” Our hero begins beating the girl in drugged fury, raining blow after blow on her lower back until a suited man appears and forces a machete into his clenched fist. The director continues, “Imagine she were your son’s mother! Strike her! Hit her…”

What follows next is a plethora of ultra-real horrors that wash over you in Eastern European howls of ‘Kurva! Kurva!’ which phonetically is so much juicier than the trite ‘whore’. Rape, sodomy, forced drug use, snuff, incest; these are just some of the boxes ticked by director Srdjan Spasojevic and it is no wonder the film is banned in its homeland, being the only Serbian production made without state funding. Causing numerous walk-outs during its premiere at the SXSW Festival, A Serbian Film is on its way to becoming a cult hit, if only for the fact that two German (who aren’t known for their weak stomachs) print labs refused to transfer it from digital to film stock after viewing only half of the content. Virtually non-existent distribution will surely curb its impact, but the horror world is abuzz, the files are downloading and the antidote to the Hollywood horror aesthetic is being administered.

A Serbian Film

The trend of excess in modern horror and exploitation films, especially in the commercial B-grade aimed at the core horror audience, has been gaining momentum – the violence is more vicious, the gore is more explicit, the nudity ever more present. No longer are we satisfied by a 16 age-restriction. R-rated films revel in a celebration of profanity, showing the ability to generate revenue despite limited theatrical releases by increasing the perversity of violence. Subtleties of the psyche, of real human torment, of political or philosophical commentary, all those things that infused early horror cinema, are fading under the torrents of fake blood, intensifying the commodification of moving-image violence to the point that on-screen rape serves no grander purpose than a drawing card. Don’t get us wrong, we cheer when skulls get cut open and babies are thrown into fires, to us it’s just fun and games, more material for a sadistic sense of humour. But what about the rest of the world? A parallel can be drawn with the desensitization of violence in the media – in the 60s and 70s images of napalmed Vietnam fueled a whole protest movement, now burnt-out schools in Iraq cause nothing more than a few raised eyebrows. It is thus appropriate that the film that brings back the meaning, the horror of violence comes from a war-torn country, where civilian targets in Belgrade were bombed with clock-work precision by the American Air Force and televised as signifiers of freedom-building.

A Serbian Film is not only a tour-de-force in terms of its graphic content – from an aesthetic point of view it is almost flawless. Its style is reminiscent of the hyper-real Russian gangster cinema of the late 90s/early 2000s, in turn built on the foundations of the French New Wave. The cinematography is hot enough to make AFDA students cum, the lighting and rendering set the perfect gritty mood. Shot entirely on the RED camera, it in no way gives away its digital origins, carrying all the honesty of image usually reserved for celluloid. The story, while being rather simple, is based on solid human concerns of protecting one’s family from the harsh realities of life. The hero, Milos, a retired porn star, battles with the allure of a glamorous and successful past, torn between it and the family life he now leads. It is this duality, coupled with the need to provide for the future (something that many can relate to) that drives him into the arms of Vukmir, the demonic director, and sets off the chain of atrocities. Horror born from good intentions, a familiar tale.

Go deeper, run it through a theory filter – through Robin Wood’s ‘return of the repressed’ which states that society projects onto the Other what it fears in itself (our destruction of the environment manifests in nature striking back in such films as Birds or The Happening; our slavery to consumerism rising from the grave in Night Of The Living Dead, etc.) – and the film becomes one of the strongest critiques of the Western understanding of ‘art’. In A Serbian Film, the Other is most surely Art, given life through the character of Vukmir, a concept so perverted and so alien to the reality of life, that taboos become brush strokes, the breakdown of human spirit and values – the canvass. The film seems to be a very serious and graphic satire of European art-house cinema, driven home by Vukmir’s rationalization of his ‘newborn porn’ idea (yes, yes, wrap your head around that one) – if it is outlandish enough, it has to be art.

A Serbian Film is the ultimate anti-film, the kind of movie that makes you feel dirty after watching it, makes you question your own, deep-seated perversions, the raw humanity we all hide under the aesthetic of social interaction. It is the cinematic version of the reverse-Viagra – getting a hard-on is impossible for the next 48 hours, the much loved pornography loses its appeal for at least a week. While reactions to this horror masterpiece will be varied, one thing is for certain – no woman should ever watch this. Ever.

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RESPONSES (75)
  1. Let that boy cook says:

    Nice gonna download that shit now

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  2. muerte says:

    This is extremely well written.

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  3. x says:

    Robin Wood. Ha. Nice reference there.

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  4. weasel says:

    you def did the movie justice max. super sick article!

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  5. the cinephile says:

    Cannibal Holocaust for the new millennium – just a thought.

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  6. andrew says:

    like cannibal holocaust but set in your living room. With added incest.

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  7. Mick says:

    Great review bra. And lo the synapsi did quiver..

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  8. Anonymous says:

    does the movie have any merit above the shock and awe? or is it just a farce of gore?

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  9. ling-ling says:

    ling-ling is hard-core she watch it.

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  10. Max says:

    Anon – did you not read the second half of the review?

    Perhaps the only thing that can equate A Serbian Film is Cannibal Holocaust – only for the animal killing scenes.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    I did but i’m trying to work out if the movie is actually any good, or if some cult kiddie wanted to show off that he saw this new controversy first and got the ‘art’ behind it. At best you said it was shot well, and although digital feels like film, but also admitted the story line is pretty basic, and you’d need to run it through a theory filter to decide it’s a commentary.
    Oh and that women should never ever watch it cause they are obviously more sensitive than males and would just not be able to tolerate the depravity depictured to women folk. their poor wombs.
    it just seems, on face value, very much a celebration of gore. that it’s strength lies in it’s controversy. and maybe it should be taken as just that.
    looking too deep into gore movies, which appeal to our most basic of instincts, seems silly.
    unless it really does have strength. and the gore is essential to the story. I would use Irreversible as an example of the opposite (while not entirely ‘gore’ based, used the discomfort created visually and mentally as a way to carry a very heavy story plot and make it that much more effective).
    But, fuck, more overtly graphic movies are pretty crap. which is why they rely on the gore aspect to drum up interest.

    I was wondering if this movie is really any different. is that what motivated max, who traditionally does not do movie reviews, to write the article? or just that it was really really fucking graphic.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    equating a serbian film to zombie hallocaust (for it’s animal slaughter scenes) proves that it is just a face value gore movie.

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  13. Max says:

    What motivated me, dear anon, is the fact that I believe more people should see this film. And judge for themselves if it is good because of just the gore or because of something more. A four year film theory degree might also have had something to do with it.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    yeah exactly.

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  15. andrew says:

    @anon

    perhaps a less stupidly phrased question the first time around would have worked better?

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  16. Anonymous says:

    but would you agree that there is a difference in intention of the extreme between a movie like cannibal hallocaust and on like irreversible? And which side of this scale would A Serbian Film fall into?

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  17. Max says:

    Agreed, intentions are different. Personally, i think A Serbian Film does both. which is why it’s the most important horror film of the last 20 years.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    i was just worried that someone tried to make something like ‘saw on steroids’ with about as much depth of commentary as that whole stupid series has. cause similar things could be argued about a movie as base level as say, the first saw movie.

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  19. Lorien says:

    Nice piece Max.

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  20. andrew says:

    @anon

    the last two scenes are not graphic, but horrific which plants the film in the “irreversible’ category, i would say.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    also, would owning or downloading a copy not constitute as child porn? i’m pretty sure fictional representation of sex with minors (or second old babies) counts as CP too?

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  22. Jame Gumb says:

    Brilliant review.
    really, really well done. although, I don’t think I’ll be watching this.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Perfect first date film. Can’t wait.

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  24. Sarah Dee says:

    “Return of the repressed” is Freud 101. Plus-minus 60 years before Wood’s main work.

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  25. Tryn says:

    Wonderful review Max… gonna take a miss on watching the film though… I might not recover from it….

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  26. Sarah Dee says:

    And I’m curious about the final statement. Tell me again: Why shouldn’t I watch this film?

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  27. Sarah Dee says:

    Interesting you raise the idea of the return of the repressed in film studies though.

    It’s use in film theory (mostly in the 1970s) has largely been a critically suspicious application by FEMINIST theorists of HORROR film – and by people like Wood, a gay theorist. In other words, not straight men. And it certainly wasn’t put to use to validate the films to which it was being applied as valuable in any simple way. They were using them to help unpick the fuckedness of culture.

    Actually all of that Freudian horror theory from the seventies pretty much agrees that you boys get a kick out of horror like this because the victimisation of women lets you teeter thrillingly on the edge – it’s only effectively horrifying because you’ve got an unconscious emotional stake in the victimised woman. In other words, the effect lies in Freudian castration anxiety. So if that’s you’re theoretical position, certainly, this film ain’t for the girls.

    Even though I think these ideas are pretty outdated, if you’re going to invoke them, you should know that their intention was to largely to directly attack the primacy of the male viewer, to undermine him, to contribute to the dethroning of the dubious kings of the dominant ideology.

    So, basically, just because a theory applies to a film, doesn’t mean it gives the film value. In fact it’s quite the opposite in this case.

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  28. Sarah Dee says:

    I guess the castration anxiety would explain why “getting a hard-on is impossible for the next 48 hours”.

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  29. The Queen has spoken says:

    Boya Sarah Dee!

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  30. Anonymous says:

    OMG! sarah dee! your like so much smarter than everyone else. i especially like the part were u talk for a year about ur infinite knowledge of Freud and Feminist theory. Like, its so inspiring.

    You should hav written the article instead….oh wait…thats right, it would have been shit.

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  31. Sarah Dee says:

    I’m pretty sure I spoke only about Freud and feminist theory where applicable. I leave hyperbole to morons like you.

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  32. Roger Young says:

    Anonz just started screaming in castration anxiety and then Sarah Dee chopped it off.

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  33. Sarah Dee says:

    Hahaha. Yeah, I’m brave – it’s not something I’ve gotta worry about. 🙂

    BTW Max, I really love your work usually. But that last line is just way too much of a provocation for someone like me. I hope you understand.

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  34. castration semen-ya says:

    Sarah, you rock! Fuck yes, you rock!

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  35. What the says:

    Just as I suspected..no one bothered to ask the most important question..WHERE CAN I DOWNLOAD THIS MOVIE??

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  36. Lizzy says:

    the inference that women are more ‘sensitive’ to ultra violence than men significantly undermines the credibility of this article. Sarah is quite right in that regard, please dont patronise half the population with victorian presumptions. I was enjoying the article till then…

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  37. SOS says:

    Just reading the plot on wiki ruined my next few weeks. J F-ing C. I was “soul raped” just letting the descriptive text into my head. I have a child and a wife and I feel the bile rise everytime I think of what I read. Surely if I actually watched this I might just go insane. This shit happens in the world. No doubt. I watched Irreversible and was effected. I didn’t want to let my wife out of my sight for…ever (Not that it would help with our rape gangs…scary…horrid…touch wood it never happens reality…I digress) The I watched Anti-Christ…hmmm. Anyway. It is real and happens and makes me want to vomit.

    Imagine they make a PS3 or Wii game based on the film. Go humanity…!

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  38. the cinephile says:

    Go Sarah! Tell it like it is. This is hardly Dogtooth territory by the look of things.

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  39. Thanks says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed the read. Thanks for the review.

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  40. Anonymous says:

    Marry me Maxim.

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  41. Max says:

    Sarah, the problem with feminist theory is that feminists tend to break everything down to it – if you deconstruct ANY problem, at the bottom of it, there is either a penis or a vagina, and viola – feminist theory is applicable. In our post-post-modern world, I believe that feminist theory has become a cliche that spreads its legs for anyone with any basic understanding of psychology or sociology.

    So, the way I see it, it was mostly my end comment that no woman should watch this that offended you so? It in no way implies that women are weaker or more sensitive, but as mothers/childbearers, the last two scenes are simply too damaging – also for men, but we do not have the same attachment to children as women do (or is this a sexist statement too???).

    As to my application of Wood’s theory – are you saying that the dozens of articles/critics/theorists that have used Wood’s theory to analyze horror and have NOT talked about feminism at all – they are all wrong?

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  42. Sarah Dee says:

    No I’m saying it’s not Woods’ theory at all.

    I’m saying it’s Freud’s theory. (Kind of a dick in my opinion.)

    I have to go right now. But I’ll have more to say a little later.

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  43. Max says:

    ok, still, all them theorists that use this theory as Wood’s theory are wrong?

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  44. Lizzy says:

    dude, without the deep analysis, its offensive to suggest that women should be excluded from the audience, no matter how revolting the film may be! it should be up to us if we want to watch the film, feminism aside. its the making of the decision for us thats offensive.

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  45. Lizzy says:

    and plenty of women have no attachment to the children they spawned, or any children for that matter. women as mothers is completely socially constructed.

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  46. Anonymous says:

    there is also a difference between females and feminists.

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  47. Greg Botha says:

    They just don’t make ’em like they used to, hope this one is as good as the review!! Shot guy!!

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  48. andrew says:

    This happens every time- Max says something silly that is normally misconstrued (i hope) as sexist or racist (inge article, asian comment etc etc) and then suddenly the article doesn’t even matter, its just another fascinating extrapolation on Feminist theory and postmodernism. (which is cool when appropriate)

    Ladies (and anyone else that hasn’t)- Please watch this movie. Write a conflicting review if you feel it necessary. call it unoriginal, sick and contrived but until you’ve seen it, all this talk is masturbation.

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  49. the cinephile says:

    Lizzy is right. If a review takes a strong gender bias in an attempt to illustrate a unique and controversial aspect of a film, then that opens the door to what we traditionally call “feminist” discourse. But maybe it’s time to rethink and rename that discourse for what it really is or what it should strive to become in a more normalised and just world – gender debate.

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  50. Sarah Dee says:

    Okay Max,

    I’ve returned from my urgent appointment with the Indian Ocean – with this. (It’s a bit long, because I clearly have to explicate some things. Bear with me.):

    I am not saying that anyone who uses Freud’s theories are wrong. That would be a ridiculous undertaking, and one I don’t believe in. (He certainly was a sexist dickhead, but that’s really besides the point here.) I’m saying that you are applying his ideas badly, without even knowing that it’s Freudian theory you’re using.

    So you brought up the “return of the repressed”. Freud used this to the ways in which the ego pushes down into the subconscious traumatic ideas that the personcannot, for whatever reason, deal with at the present moment will always finds a way to resurface elsewhere in a different form. So, people like Wood use this idea on a cultural scale to say that zombie films can come to express a society’s repressed anxiety about disease or nuclear fallout or whatever. Also, there is cathartic pleasure in the satiating of these neuroses, which makes for a pleasurable film experience. The question is, what is the repressed anxiety that makes for cathartic pleasure in films about violence towards women, when the vast majority of the firmly established audience is male? The psychoanaltic film theorists of Wood’s generation say “castration anxiety”, a fundamental Freudian anxiety which has to do with noticing that the mother with whom the boy child has identifies is anatomically different, and in his mind “mutilated”. (You should read a book called “Men Women and Chainsaws” by Carol Clover.) They say that the experience of watching horror where women are victimised is about neurotically, subconsciously, repeating this traumatic childhood experience.

    So actually it was Freud who started all the talk of cocks (and not so much of fannies) in the early part of last century, not the feminists. Sometime around the late sixties and seventies, his ideas were picked up by feminist film critics, among others, as part of a move towards psychoanalytic film theory, of which Wood was a part. This body of psychoanalytic theory of film and others applied Freud’s phallocentricism to an analysis of popular narrative. This work, which you lean on, has been enormously important to the discipline, but largely, we’ve moved beyond it, even if you haven’t. 😉 Like I said earlier, “I think these ideas are pretty outdated”. I prefer the newer Lacanian stuff mostly. It refers to Freud’s work, but there’s a little less penis-talk. I do so tire of the penis-talk. Thank god feminism isn’t what it used to be in the seventies.

    So basically, rather than demanding a more feminist angle, my comment was simply to contextualise and point out the other implications of the theory you yourself use, which turns your argument into a self defeating one. In other words, you’re invoking theory that for the most part preaches that the affect of horror lies in the masculinity of the viewer – ie that the true terror depends on repressed fears of the male psyche – to argue that the film will be more scary for women. It doesn’t make sense from a theoretical point of view.

    In other words, you’ll have to do better than that if you’re going to convince us that your not just being a provocative, confrontational chauvinist.

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  51. Sarah Dee says:

    God, I just read how many typos were in that comment. Forgive me.

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  52. Sarah Dee says:

    Also I should clarify.

    I wasn’t offended by your comment at the end. Like your whole argument, it’s too flimsy and silly to be offensive. I said it was “provocative” for someone like me – me being a female fan and earnest scholar of the horror genre.

    I saw it as an invitation to duel. And I accepted.

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  53. Sarah Dee says:

    Last thing, I swear:

    I just wanted to say how rad it is that with Lizzy and cinephile, we have at least two thoughtful cool enlightened people in this thread on the issue of gender. It’s so rad. I especially liked when Cinephile said this:

    “If a review takes a strong gender bias in an attempt to illustrate a unique and controversial aspect of a film, then that opens the door to what we traditionally call “feminist” discourse. But maybe it’s time to rethink and rename that discourse for what it really is or what it should strive to become in a more normalised and just world – gender debate.”

    And their comments is so considered and substantial. It’s just so cool.

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  54. Doctor L. says:

    Damn! This joint was fucked the fuck up!

    I think what my dude Max meant at the end there is that the film eroticizes violence against women. Just like the porn you see running the internets these days. So for a male viewer there is always the moment of involvement, of interaction with the eroticized violence, until they (if they are not completely emotionally stunted) reach the threshold–or rather, things get really, really fucked up.

    As they do.

    So in this way the film is interactive and self-reflexive for male viewers, mostly, where as for female viewers, who are unable to attach the ‘phallic symbol’, to feel the eroticism in the violence, the film might be received, simply, on the surface–as something cruel and misanthropic (which is the perfect reaction if you ask me!).

    Strange you should write a review of this at this time, too. Just as people (men) were bidding online for the Jules High School “teen gang rape tape”.

    All of this said, I’ma have to shoot it down, aesthetically, though. There’s nothing terribly formal about this jawn. It’s not like you’re watching Bergman. Or even Marty. It’s pretty straight-laced.

    I don’t think these films are being received the way the ‘should’ be, though. I watched this out of morbid curiosity. The whole thing was sickly gratifying. Don’t get me wrong: I was repulsed more than several times, but I kept the fucking thing on, thinking “What are they gonna do next?”

    Smarter, future humans will see them for what they are, though. No doubt about that.

    Anyway, it’s Friday, let me open my fucking curtains!

    Yirrr!

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  55. Sarah Dee says:

    I feel eroticism in the violence.

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  56. Sarah Dee says:

    Cross gender identification is not that hard to believe, is it? That a man can watch a film and feel momentarily more stressed for the woman on whom the axe is about to land than pleased for the man whose yielding it? In other words, is a masocistic eroticism, or a sadistic one.

    My personal opinion, which I haven’t even got to till now (so busy poinitng out how Max is undermining his own argument), is that it’s a complex mix of erotic experience, of pleasure and pain, of taboo and permission, of masculinity and femininity, on power and weakness. all of this filtered again by a variety of conditioned responses by audience members of different sexes, that complicates understanding what’s really going on in all our heads. (Like girls who secretly like watching porn, but screw up their faces in disgust if others are present, for example).

    Which means to venture into the essentialism of that last sentence, is a stupid oversimplification.

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  57. Doctor L. says:

    Really? How? That’s so…strange.

    I mean…do you feel the “wheels spinning” when you think about forcefully taking a woman (if the conditions are safe and it’s an act with consenting adults).

    What part of…you. Damn. Are you…

    I mean…the sexual domination is linked to an enjoyment of female subjugation.

    Can women really enjoy those BangBros videos where a woman with a strap-on ‘rapes’ another in the mouth?

    How can you feel the eroticism when it demands you as its its object? When it exist because of that?

    Or do you mean you just feel that it is there, but don’t feel a relation to it?

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  58. Doctor L. says:

    “Cross gender identification is not that hard to believe, is it? That a man can watch a film and feel momentarily more stressed for the woman on whom the axe is about to land than pleased for the man whose yielding it? In other words, is a masocistic eroticism, or a sadistic one.”

    I’m not talking about ‘identification’ or something you think. I’m talking about base feelings.

    In the film, after Milos ejaculates on the face of a woman he’s forced to batter (at the same time), he feels repentant and Vukmir tells him:

    “But your penis enjoyed it. The penis always tells the truth.”

    That’s the kind of shit I’m talking about.

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  59. Sarah Dee says:

    Doctor L

    Really? Sexual domination is linked to an enjoyment of female subjugation? Ha. That’s a nice theory. Where’d you get that?

    Anyway.As Max said, it doesn’t always boil down to penis and vag. Just because I don;t have something dangling from my nether regions, doesn’t mean I don;t experienc the erotic in the violent. JG Ballard is better as illustrating this than me. One factor that might be able to help you imagine what psychological processes are at play can be summed up in this word: POWER. And maybe another: PLAY.

    “Base feelings” can’t be separated from processes of subjectivation and identification.

    You don’t have to illustrate to me by describing the film how awful it is. And I’m not going to suddenly reel in shock. Let’s just say I’m no sensitive viewer.

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  60. Sarah Dee says:

    This is a clue about how to think about it. “I’M” not demanded as its object. The IMAGE of a WOMAN is demanded as an object. Those are quite separate things. How my subjectivity and that image interact is no simple linear process.

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  61. Doctor L. says:

    What?

    What are you talking about? Why do you sound angry? I’m confused.

    And yes, really–female sexual domination in porn and as entertainment directed towards men, IS linked to a desire to subjugate women.

    I get that “nice theory” from my own experiences, those of people around me, being a male, sexism, porn and rape.

    But if you want to attach it to critical thinking, then Christoper Hitchens, Luce Irigiray, Patricia Hill Collins, bell hooks and Audre Lorde.

    Your subjectivity, what or who you are is irrelevant–you are read, and looked upon, first and foremost as a woman, an object, that’s our society and that’s the point. In the case of what I was saying and in the case of the film the woman and the image of the woman are inseparable. In fact, that’s one of the things the film gets at, in my view.

    “Just because I don;t have something dangling from my nether regions, doesn’t mean I don;t experienc the erotic in the violent. JG Ballard is better as illustrating this than me. One factor that might be able to help you imagine what psychological processes are at play can be summed up in this word: POWER. And maybe another: PLAY.”

    Yes, but you are a woman and I am man. It means nothing essentially, but if you have chosen the female gender as I have the male, and have grown up within society then our experiences of “the erotic in the violent” will be different.

    Not everything happening here can be explained by psychology! People really treat this psychology like a religion.

    Here, rather, is something that might help you imagine what I’m saying. This is a sexual film and also a film about violence. Start with you, not JG Ballard, and see how you react, sexually, to the film and also see in you to what degree your sexual energy is characterized by violence.

    You are talking about words-as-concepts (“Power”; “Play”) and images rather then feelings and experiences, which in my view, stunts what cinema aims to do in it’s reproduction of the human subject; the very fact that it happens within a synthesis of sound and image, as opposed to a page. Especially cinema like this, which deliberately blurs the line between reality and fantasy.

    It’s like you want win a theoretical argument, or something, and I want to talk about something that everyone can relate to without having read Freud or Wood or whatever other horror film readings you find in Film Studies graduate seminars.

    By the way, it’s pretty damn obvious that Max dropped that last line just to poke fun. He’s obviously not an essentialist or sexist. I just took it springboard what I felt and thought while watching the film.

    P.S.

    I hate the term POWER PLAY. It’s misleading. One detaches sex from human bodies and gets the idea that the weight of sexual power between men and women is dynamic; that it shifts back and forth. Bullshit. It is always in favour of the man.

    P.S.S

    I’m not trying to downplay your complexity. You’re obviously hella smart and self-aware and a cool person who knows their film shit. I’m just bringing myself, as a male body, to the argument. That’s all.

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  62. Doctor L. says:

    And I want to be your friend.

    I’m a dumb kid. I stay lit. Smile like I’m shy and struggle to make eye contact when talking to strangers.

    I [used to] drink a lot. I like weed. I’m almost good at rapping (I work on it everyday). I’m gonna make a film that will change South African cinema next year. With BEE money. I weigh 60 kg. I will pay for lunch every time we meet.

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  63. Wicked Mike says:

    Disturbingly, probably says more about my humanity than your talents as a writer that this is now on my must-see list.

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  64. Al Funk says:

    Let’s begin on the pre-text of i’m actually a Serb. Then consider that Serbs were ruled by Turks for 500 years or so and that they The Turks frequently and nototiously raped what i’d call our mothers infront of ‘us'(talking now from a Serb identity). Everyone so conveniantly overlooked Max’s statement of how Civilians were bombed by NATO with clockwork precision. In all fairness yes Milosevic’s Ethnic cleansing worked by killing half the family so the other half would suffer and was Genocidal but hey the fucker died in the Hague in anyway what more do you fucking want.

    Secondly anon you are by far the most outright pretentious cocksucking douchebag who probably didn’t even get to the second paragraph of Max’s article and made up his/her Mind before you even read the article. Max your sensitivity and depth of this piece is to say the least admirable and Sarah-Dee I thought we were applying a theory filter here. All you have done is wasted far more energy and time than necessary in trying to self validate your own Feminist theories. Yes women have been oppressed for over 2000 years and I understand this haunts your unconscious and for women in general their collective unconscious.

    Personally I am more of a fan of Jung’s theories(if you want to get Freudian women love Freud don’t they). If you wanted to enter into an intellectual Debate with Max on film theory which he clearly pointed out he did a 4 year Degree on then join a fucking debating society(which i’m sure Max wouldn’t be interested in joining that’s probably why he writes???…). Maybe go do a little fucking research on Serbia if you even know where geographically that is(which I have found maybe 1 out of 10 South Africans actually know where it is). Funny isn’t it that a lot of ‘South African’ people I have met haven’t even heard of Serbia until the World Cup.

    Before you watch this I suggest as a little background watch some of Kusturica’s films I suggest Underground and a Serbian cult called Lepa Sela Lepo Gore(Beautiful Village and it Burns Beautifully 2). Then do a little History(which South Africans are notoriously bad at hey blame the pathetic education system here) then follow the news a bit about what’s actually going on there now(you will be shocked to the core). Interesting to note that Vuk(like the character Vukmir) means wolf in Serbian. The dual dilemna the protagonist shares is actually very similar to the one faced in The Wrestler which was oh so fucking acclaimed. Also take note of the fact that it is the only film made without State funding. The State in Serbia is practically and unofficially controlled by the Mafia there. i.e this film is totally independant Serbia doesn’t have massive film studios so that is why most films are forced to be state funded.

    I can see why it would be banned but the motive is a sinister one i.e high level debunking. I think Max was being Noble in his statement that women should’t watch this.

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  65. josh says:

    @ sarah dee – U are very smart, well written and your applications of theory are def appropriate, but it does come across (at least to me) that u really like the sound of your own typing- it actually detracts from your (otherwise potent) argument a little.

    My only reason for watching this was too see the new “most disturbing” film (the same reason most will now watch it) In a sea of shitty remakes and contrived horror movies this was at least somewhat refreshing.

    But my opinion is unimportant because I didnt make reference to a dead philosopher or director.

    oh well

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  66. @josh says:

    Jesus Christ. So, because Sarah has sharper arguments than anyone else and can phrase them eloquently – she’s arrogant? bullshit. And it detracts from her argument? How? What does that have to do with the logic of her argument?

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  67. josh says:

    No! u misunderstand me- i think her observations are invaluable and well written (or at least the first 4 or 5). Sarah has skills for sure, but i think she hijacked the thread a bit and made it purely about what she knows best- theory, reducing every other subjects importance.

    As a movie fan and not a student I felt excluded- which im sure was not her intention.

    Do u not think there is a better forum for her to extrapolate on? where people that wish 2 argue with her (or u) can?

    Not trying to cause trouble.

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  68. Sarah Dee says:

    @ Doctor L – Name a time and place. You do seem nice. We could talk power play over hot chocolate and biscotti.

    @ @Josh – Thanks. 🙂

    @AI Funk – Sorry you’re homesick. It makes you so bitter and short-sighted. (PS. I can assure you that I’m more than qualified to enter into film debate with Max. Though I’m not sure how that has anything to do with anything.)

    On that note:
    @ Josh – Your opinion is definitely important.

    Bored of running into brick walls.

    I’m out.

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  69. josh says:

    also…. has Sarah or cinephile or lizzy actually seen the movie? or are they merely responding to errors in the application of woods/freud’s theories? i could see how that would sustain a short conversation but at this stage its like analyzing a spelling error and agonizing over it- kinda ignoring the sentence itself?

    just a thought.

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  70. josh says:

    @ damnit Sarah- ur so likeable now i also wanna be friends.

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  71. Mojo says:

    Three words – The Human Centipede.
    Tuned.

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  72. the cinephile says:

    I have not seen the film in its entirety yet and am busy downloading it. I will not be put off from watching all of it based on levels of horror or extremity, but if I feel that it’s poorly made at some stage I may well shelve the rest of it.

    There’s been a lot of circular debate in the comments above on the dual topics of sexual violence and gender, but you may well find that some of the most extreme examples of such violence have been depicted in gay porn flicks. This is perhaps an interesting manifestation of the distorted gender pretext that Max alludes to in his piece and which Sarah finds questionable – that men have a higher capacity for abuse and pain and that depiction of violence towards them is somehow more justified or tolerable. Any woman who has given birth could offer a different perspective on this, at least on the pain-o-meter.

    I really wish we could step outside of the gender conundrum for a while and consider why horror and sadism in films affects us so much and what artistic and social purpose it could serve. The well-made movies of this ilk transport us through shock to levels of insight and compassion that can be positive. Sometimes this compassion is only effectively induced through more intensive and prolonged episodes of horror – hence the uncomfortably long subway rape scene in Irreversible and the drawn out and sickening abuse in the closing stages of Martyrs (still the most shcking film I have seen to date together with Breillat’s “About My Sister”)

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  73. Max says:

    Al Funk, thank you for your comment. From someone from Serbia, it is much appreciated.

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  74. Roger Young says:

    This film sounds a lot like Inception. Amplifying the same idea until a sickening conclusion. Un Chien Andalou it is not.

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  75. Doctor L. says:

    It doesn’t play out like that. There’s no palpable awareness of what it’s doing, intellectually or morally. It just comes across like a film that’s trying to be cool and edgy, fucked up and sad.

    On one level. Ten the other stuff kind of creeps in.

    But it’s in how you watch it.

    But overall, it’s an almost.

    Not as hackneyed as “Cabin Fever”, “Saw” or “Hostel” but then, again, not quite in the region of “Man Bites Dog”, “120 Days of Sodom” or even ‘Cannibal Holocaust” if you’ll excuse the second half.

    More like a less obscure and much, much less spritual, “Antichrist”.

    [end of haughty film critic voice]

    I hated “Inception”. I saw it in East London where I drank a lot of beer and ate Ocean Basket oysters. I leaned so much on the draughts that night. I was feeling so bad it kept the women away. It was only two of us with so much beer and space on our table. But they didn’t come. Which is weird because none of us ever ‘have’ or ‘keep ‘money. We just sieve it from parents or bosses and pass it around this way, going for women. We were at this bullshit family restaurant because we thought we might be thought of as distinguished. I’m not talking cultured, here, just middle-class enough for a cellphone contract and a two-car garage. Anyway, after great failure I was asleep 30 minutes into Christopher Nolan’s “Magnum Opus” . I don’t know what I dreamed about, but I started feeling terribly anxious and when I got up all I wanted was another drink before–shit, I don’t know. But the thing was still playing and my boy, who paying for this disaster, wasn’t having it. So I just sat there and I was just so damn scared, I felt so terrible and underwhelming, I wanted to laugh really hard or die. Why was I alive? I joked about that, but he didn’t hear me. My girlfriend texted me “goodnight”. Like, really, though, why are you?

    “This shit is so wack, when is it ending?”

    I kept saying that to him. And you know what? The fucking asshole even agreed; but he wouldn’t move. “Wait, bra,” he said “I paid.”

    And then:

    “You’re right, this is wack.”

    Chuckling.

    “Wait, bra.’

    Fuck…that van slowly dropping into the water…that fucking elevator descending down to Leo’s ‘subconscious’ like “Psycho” never happened. And Ellen Page. Why couldn’t she be mine or maybe just there with me? I’d treat her okay. I’ve done that with a girl before. Being punctual and doing shit. Waking up. Hugs. Firm fucking handshakes.

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