A Serbian Film

 Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet



27th August
2010
  

A Serbian Film Cleansed...

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BBFC make 49 cuts to A Serbian Film

a serbian film posterA Serbian Film is a 2010 Serbia adult horror by Srdjan Spasojevic. See IMDb

The BBFC made 49 cuts totalling 3:48s for the 2010 DVD/Blu-ray release.

The BBFC commented:

The BBFC has also required cuts to the DVD submission of A Serbian Film for an ‘18’ rating.  This Serbian language film with subtitles is about a former Serbian porn star, who is lured out of early retirement by an offer of money to participate in an ‘artistic’ porn film for the ‘foreign market’.  When he is forced to participate in abusive activities he tries to pull out but is drugged and is forced to continue with the filming.

The filmmakers have stated that A Serbian Film is intended as an allegory about Serbia itself.  The Board recognises that the images are intended to shock, but the sexual and sexualised violence goes beyond what is acceptable under current BBFC Guidelines at ‘18’.  The Board has therefore required 49 individual cuts to the work amounting to approximately three minutes 48 seconds. These include cuts to the juxtaposition of images of children with sexual and sexually violent material.  Although the Board does not regard these images as likely to contravene the Protection of Children Act 1978, the Guidelines state that intervention is most likely with, amongst other things, ‘ portrayals of children in a sexualised or abusive context’.

David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said:

It is the Board’s policy that at the adult category the Guideline concerns will not normally override the principle that adults should be free to choose their own entertainment... However ..there are cases where the Board will intervene, even at ‘18’, where material or treatment appears to the BBFC to pose a credible potential harm risk to individuals or, through their behaviour, to society, and in particular where portrayals of sexual or sexualised violence might eroticise or endorse sexual assault or where children are portrayed in a sexualised context.

The cuts to A Serbian Film do not detract from the message of the film but remove the most problematic images of sexual and sexualised violence.  The section in the Board’s Guidelines which lists the possible grounds for compulsory cuts also includes material which portrays children in a sexualised or abusive context.  Whilst the Board understands that these images are intended to make a political point, that does not remove the genuine harm risks to which they give rise.

Frightfest

Based on article from  digitalspy.co.uk

Controversial horror movie A Serbian Film will not be screened at this year's Film4 FrightFest event.

FrightFest co-director Alan Jones said in a statement that the horror event organisers pulled the movie because they did not wish to show a version that had been heavily censored by 49 individual cuts.

Film4 FrightFest has decided not to show A Serbian Film in a heavily cut version because, as a festival with a global integrity, we think a film of this nature should be shown in its entirety as per the director's intention, Jones explained.

Several film festivals across the world have already done so. Unlike the I Spit on Your Grave remake, where we are showing the BBFC certified print, as requested by Westminster Council, the issues and time-line complexities surrounding A Serbian Film make it impossible for us to screen it

A Serbian Film is the second withdrawal from FrightFest following Gregg Araki's decision not to screen his apocalyptic teen horror Kaboom .

 

28th August
2010
  

Offsite: A Serbian Film...


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Will this new movie kill off torture porn for good?

a serbian film posterA Serbian Film is a 2010 Serbia adult horror by Srdjan Spasojevic. The BBFC made 49 cuts totalling 3:48s for the 2010 DVD/Blu-ray release. The film was cancelled from a showing at Frightfest

Given the sheer, ruptured-sewage-pipe deluge of gore, mutilation and general unpleasantness that has come to comprise the peculiar sub-genre of horror known as torture porn , it seems hard to believe that it is barely half a decade old. But if we take its birthdate as the US cinematic release of Saw (and not, if we were being pedantic, the 1997 release date of the vastly-superior-in-every-way Canadian mathematical gore-thriller Cube, way too good a film to be credited with any kind of indirect responsibility for the existence of cretinous bilge like Hostel 2), then torture porn will turn six in October. God only knows what might be baked into that birthday cake.

But TP might not even make it that far, as we may be hearing its death knell very soon. Torture porn, at least in the UK, effectively dies at this weekend's Frightfest, or at least reaches a point when it can no longer out-disgust any of its antecedents. And when your sole raison-d'etre is to come up with new and inventive ways to permit living things to die horribly ( Let's drown a man in liquidised pigs! Let's make a man's head explode in a specially rigged microwave oven! Let's throw a cat on to a hard floor covered entirely in acid! Yeah! Let's! ), then you effectively buy the farm; your ability to inspire revulsion has been comprehensively overwhelmed.

...Read the full article

 

29th August
2010
  

Offsite: New Lines to be Drawn...


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The BBFC vs A Serbian Film

a serbian film posterA Serbian Film is a 2010 Serbia adult horror by Srdjan Spasojevic. The BBFC made 49 cuts totalling 3:48s for the 2010 DVD/Blu-ray release. The film was cancelled from a showing at Frightfest

In the past decade, pretty much anything goes down at the BBFC, aka the censors' office. Hostel. Saw. Irreversible. Antichrist. All released, as far as I can tell, uncut.

A refreshing change, finally, for audiences to be treated as adults. Time was, back in the days when professional killjoy James Ferman was in charge, that any remotely interesting movie was cut, banned or otherwise pilloried. Amazingly, as recently as 1996 David Cronenberg's Crash caused such a furore that made the front page of the Daily Mail, while The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (amongst many others) was still persona non grata in British cinemas.

Ancient times. Nowadays, Channel 4 and its spin-offs seems to be showing the early Saw films on constant rotation, and you can go and buy Martyrs in HMV. That's the result, largely, of a more relaxed and circumspect leadership at the BBFC. The vast majority of films are uncut, the current board rightly taking a hands-off view towards anything that doesn't contravene obscenity laws.

Trouble is, taking the stigma out of hardcore horror does tend to leave the genre's extreme wing looking rather toothless. Way back when, getting banned was something of a badge of honour for some directors, proving that their taboo-busting shock tactics worked. These days, Saw is a theme park ride. When the bar has been raised (or, depending on your point of view, lowered), what does it take to get the kind of reaction that once had the tabloids and politicians in apoplexy?

Looks like we've just found out. Srdjan Spasojevic's A Serbian Film has caused outrage and revulsion even amongst hardcore horror fans.

...Read the full article

 

31st August
2010
  

Firing Back...

Distributor of A Serbian Film makes statement over BBFC cuts

a serbian film posterA Serbian Film is a 2010 Serbia adult horror by Srdjan Spasojevic. The BBFC made 49 cuts totalling 3:48s for the 2010 DVD/Blu-ray release.

In light of A Serbian Film being pulled from the Film4 FrightFest lineup at the last minute after the BBFC demanded nearly four minutes of cuts, UK distributor Revolver has released a brief statement:

A spokesperson for Revolver, the UK distributor of the film said: In light of the BBFC's recent requested 49 cuts totalling approximately 3 mins 48 secs for the DVD / Blu-ray release of A Serbian Film , we remain committed to releasing the closest possible version of the film to the director's original cut.

The company recognises that the film is an uncompromising, artistic and political statement from a unique filmmaking vision and remains fully supportive to the director. Revolver believes this is a film that deserves to be seen by both a theatrical and home entertainment UK audience.

 

2nd September
2010
  

Offsite: Not Showing at a Cinema Near You...

The BBFC's cutting of A Serbian Film shows that we still aren't trusted to judge movies for ourselves.

Spiked logo For the uninitiated, FrightFest has over the past decade become the home of UK film premieres in the horror and fantasy genres. It's a forum that combines scholarly appreciation of legendary Italian director Dario Argento with a close working relationship with filmmakers such as Neil Marshall ( Centurion ) and Christopher Smith ( Black Death ), while giving horror fans ample opportunities to cheer wildy at gore effects. Film director Gregg Araki - whose new comedy Kaboom! was withdrawn from this weekend's programme - has denied calling us FrightFest aficionados a bunch of geeks , but FrightFest is still probably the only European festival where the terms and conditions on a three-day pass include remember personal hygiene .

...Read the full article

 

2nd September
2010
  

Comment: Against the Serbian Grain...

So what did the BBFC find so cuttable? (with spoilers)

a serbian film posterFrom the off, please let me point out this will contain spoilers about the film in question. In order to make my point valid I will have to use examples from the film.

So,

Against all my better judgments I've just sat through an uncut print of A Serbian Film . I say my better judgments, because for me these (I hate this term) torture porn films, hold absolutely no interest at all. How they can be branded horror films is beyond me. To me, horror is something that scares you, and makes you jump, not offends you. Anyway that's purely academic, back on point, I was lucky enough to see an uncut print of A Serbian Film , now for a lot of you this will seem like nothing special, but here in the UK, it's been trimmed by just under 4 mins. I've yet to see the BBFC approved print, but if all they have done is simply lessen the impact of scenes, this will still upset a lot of people.

That being said, I can certainly understand the BBFC's point. While I'm no fan of censorship (I wouldn't be on here if I was), I do believe that a metaphorical line should be drawn in the sand, especially when dealing with children and sex in films. Even to this day, I'm still quite edgy around Larry Clarke's Kids . Which brings me onto the big problem with A Serbian Film . The use of children. While one scene involves newborn porn (sex with a baby) , it does look very fake, and some might even say it's meant to, as it's supposed to be a metaphor and blah blah blah. The scene that really did make me think the BBFC had a point was a joint rape, involving two sheet covered bodies, our main character, Milos, and another man (who's masked) raping them. While this is not shocking as such, what is revealed later in the scene will be too much for some people, as it turns out the masked man, is Milos' brother (a sheriff), who's raping Milos' wife, and Milos is in fact raping his own (heavily drugged) young son. While you don't actually see anything as such, the repeat viewings could be seen as being titillating and arousing for certain viewers. Whether this scene is one of the 49 cuts I can't say, but I'd be surprised if theirs not a few in their, as it does suggest you can easily drug and anally rape a child, and not have to look at them.

Although, their are a lot of violent sex scenes, I think the one the BBFC will have had a problem with, is suffocation via fellatio. One of the support characters (having had her teeth knocked out), is forced to have a penis rammed down her throat resulting in her suffocating and dying. The fact that this is played very real, and does go on, is, I imagine, something that hasn't sat well with them (the BBFC rarely allow these gagging scenes in R18 films (hardcore porn)). That being said, I'll be surprised if they were phased by the necrophilia / rigor mortis sex moments, as they can come off as laughable (as does the death via penis to eye socket), even in the context they're in, and movies like Donkey Punch , seem to have faired off fine, so I doubt they were a problem.

While all the above scenes are shocking and uncomfortable to watch, this film IS very good. And I think that will be it's downfall, you won't forget it, and that scares censors. It doesn't look like some snuff film from Tijuanna. It looks glossy, Hollywood, the cinematography is excellent, the acting top notch (especially as it's subtitled), it looks like a well made, well polished mainstream film. Maybe that's the problem. It's just too damn good.

 

8th September
2010
  

Update: Having their Souls Raped...

Raindance film festival organises uncut private showing of A Serbian Film

a serbian film posterControversy looks set to reign at this year's Raindance film festival after organisers announced they will screen a number of highly contentious films over the event's 11-day run, which begins later this month.

Among the features that will show at the festival are first-time director Srdjan Spasojevic's horror picture A Serbian Film , which has been noted for scenes involving paedophilia, necrophilia, rape and incest and was pulled from last month's FrightFest.

Raindance appears to have found a way around the ban by billing the screening as a private event .

Meanwhile, Bruce La Bruce's LA Zombie , dubbed the world's first gay zombie porno, will also make an appearance. It made the news for being being banned in censorial Australia before it could be shown at the Melbourne international film festival. It has already screened at Locarno and Toronto.

Less contentious but with equally difficult subject matter is Five Daughters , a British film about the last weeks of the five women murdered in Ipswich in 2006.

Raindance's founder and director, Elliot Grove, said the festival had a duty to screen films it believed in, and which deserved to be seen by the general public: It's important to understand that these films weren't programmed because people have dubbed them as 'controversial', he said. In many cases we've been following these films throughout the year, and before anybody even mentioned them as causing any supposed offence. We feel audiences have the right to pass their own judgement, and people know exactly what they are seeing.

For the second year in succession, Raindance will take place at the Apollo Cinema in Piccadilly Circus. It runs from 29 September to 10 October.

Meanwhile the Sun has fun with the 'vile' A Serbian Film

See  article from  thesun.co.uk

sun newspaper logoA sick film which features graphic scenes of necrophilia, paedophilia and even the rape of a baby seconds after its birth, is to be screened at a London festival.

The movie, called A Serbian Film , has caused outrage with harrowing scenes involving the brutal rape of children and the murder of helpless women whose bodies are then violated. Many reviews have condemned the movie with one horror site writer comparing watching the movie to having (his) soul raped .

The BBFC demanded 49 cuts to the movie before it could be screened here. But organisers of the Raindance Festival have scheduled a private screening of the vile movie.

Screenwriter and director SRDJAN SPASOJEVIC attempted to defend the movie as an allegory for the horrific war crimes in his country's recent history: This is a diary of our own molestation by the Serbian government... It's about the monolithic power of leaders who hypnotise you to do things you don't want to do. You have to feel the violence to know what it's about.

 

16th October
2010
  

Review: Wince and You'll Miss Bits...

A Serbian Film re-visited

a serbian film posterPlease note, this will contain spoilers and may contain descriptions some people may find concerning.

Ok, a while back now, I wrote an article that took a look at A Serbian Film . Since then, all manner of hype, and backlash, has hit this film. However, now that that has died down (at least until the DVD releases), I find myself in a frame of mind to watch it again. Is this a morbid obsession with the films subject matter? Hardly. It's more a case of wanting to analyse the film in a more neutral light. The first time I watched it, I was concerned, the publicity had taken its toll on me, and after re-reading my last article, I found myself sounding slightly biased. This is due to the content of this film, and me having my teenage head on (the sort of mindset you get into when your a mid teen, listening to Rage against the machine, and siding with an opinion you understand nothing about) Now though, after 2 months, I find I actually want to watch this again. But as a film fan, as an art form, and not as something that strikes a blow for artistic license or what the censors deem appropriate. Which looking back on myself, is what I'd slipped into on my previous viewing.

Chainsaw massacre syndrome

So, how does this film fair up? Now that I have had time to chew the proverbial cud.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre DVD Well. I still find it a brilliant film. Also, the political message is still very much lost on me. I don't see it, but that's academic. What I do see though, is a film that suffers from what I like to call chainsaw massacre syndrome. This is something that came about in the 1970's, during Hollywood's new found lease on horror, when people were claiming to have seen more in the film than was actually their. I was bought up to believe that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a bloodbath, when in actual fact, theirs very little blood, and most of the violence is psychological. this is something I fell into with A Serbian Film . While it does contain a great deal of violence, a lot of it is off screen, or shown in poorly edited camcorder moments. One I will get to in a minute.

Scene to be believed

look of horrorThe Alice in Wonderland scene is actually the tamest of the film, while it is quite nasty, the child element (something that has caused the main problem with this film) is not that bad. This is due to the fact that girl, dressed as Alice, is not that young. She is in her early teens yes, but she's not as young as Milos' son. While she serves no real purpose to the scene, it does give you a nice entry level of shock and intrigue of what's to come. Something that shows a nice direction, rather than a director who wants to get to the nasty crowd upsetting moment. Pace. Something the new Elm St failed to have.

I'm not going to lie, the NEWBORN PORN scene is still very unpleasant to watch. However, it's the idea that provokes the reaction. Because, you actually don't see a great deal, and you have to ask yourself what's he doing? . Of course when you realise, THAT'S when the horror kicks in. It's more the notion, the idea, that scares. Especially when you think of how many babies are born outside of hospitals (I was born in the car on the way).

As I said earlier, this was a moment in my first viewing where I thought I saw a lot more. But I didn't. I thought the baby scene was longer, done from different angles. It's not. It's all shot from behind, and there's no gratuitous moment of penetration. Something I've heard certain IMDBers claim to see.

Another scene I thought I saw more was the death of the nurse. While you see her death in it's entirety, you DON'T see her getting her teeth knocked out, they're already on the floor. This time I noticed the camera man kick them (to illustrate them being there), something I missed last time, as I knew what was coming (due to internet spoilers). So I was ignoring the peripheral, and waiting for the crunch.

The joint rape, is something I missed a lot in. Mainly due, again, to spoilers. I wanted the impact. When what I should have done, is paid attention to the tone and atmosphere of the scene. I missed the shot of Milos' son bleeding, I missed the brothers climax. In fact all I remember from that scene the first time, is the shot of Milos' sons drooling face and the violence that followed.

While the rape scene is horrific, it's the violence that really struck a chord with me this time. I don't remember the brothers bludgeoning going on as long as it does, I was now able to pay attention to Vukmir dying words, and the penis in the eye was now more painful, as a didn't remember the close ups.

Wince and you'll miss it

Does this film disturb a second time? Yes. This film does what so many fail to do. It gives you a new reaction each time. Most probably because you were wincing the first time. Is it something I will watch a third time? Yes. I probably will. But it will have to be for a good reason. This is not something I'm going to strive to own. It does however deserve to be seen by serious film fans who can look past the media frenzy. Something it took me a second viewing to do.

 

27th October
2010
  

Updated: British Horror Film Festival 2010...

A Serbian Film makes an impression on Bournemouth councillors

british horror film festival 2010 logo British Horror Film Festival
30th October 2010
The Pier Theatre, Bournemouth

Also showing:

  • Needle
  • Devils Playground
  • Voodoo Lagoon

Bournemouth's licensing committee agreed they would not ban A Serbian Film from the forthcoming British Horror Film Festival at the Pier Theatre if it was classified by the BBFC.

But the BBFC will not issue the film with a certificate unless almost four minutes of footage is cut from it first – something the distributor has not yet done.

Cllr David Kelsey, vice-chair of the licensing board, said he would still be uncomfortable with the film being shown, even after the cuts.

I downloaded it last night and I would not recommend it to a member of my family, he told the meeting: It's the most disgusting, vile thing I've ever sat down and watched. It was absolutely unbelievable. I think cutting five minutes from it would not be enough. Even that would leave a lot of scenes that I would not want to see in a public cinema. I just find it amazing what people can actually get away with in the cause of art nowadays – to me that's just not art.

Chairman of the board Cllr Andrew Morgan suggested they write to Pier Theatre manager Ian Goode to inform him councillors would not be happy with the unclassified version of the film being shown. He also recommended the council take Goode up on his offer to vary the Pier Theatre's licence to specifically prevent unclassified films from being shown there.

We're not stepping into the shoes of the BBFC, if they want to show a classified film it's not our role to stop it, he said.

Stuart Brennan, director of the British Horror Film Festival, said it was up to the film company and distribution company to decide whether they wanted to make the cuts required to gain an 18 certificate: If there is a copy of the film that we can show by the time the festival goes ahead then we will show the cut version, he said.

Update: A Serbian Film Cancelled

25th October 2010. Based on article from  horror-movies.ca

a serbian film posterA few days ago Bournemouth council announced that A Serbian Film will only be approved to be shown once it is certified by the BBFC.

The festival director Stuart Brennan has issued this statement: This is an unfortunate situation for us to be in. We believe strongly the film should be shown, however this new demand has left us in a position where we are left with little choice but to remove the film from our line up, as we cannot guarantee the film will be certified in time.

A statement issued on behalf of Revolver Entertainment Ltd, the UK distributor for the film reads: Revolver Entertainment Ltd. have decided with regret to withdraw A Serbian Film from exhibition at the forthcoming British Horror Film Festival in Bournemouth. The film has been submitted to the British Board of Film Classification but does not, as yet, have a confirmed 18 certificate. While the film and any potential cuts are still under review the film cannot be screened as per the council's decision

Update: More on the cancellation

27th October 2010. Based on article from  bournemouthecho.co.uk

BBFC logo Although the BBFC has issued the film with an 18 certificate for video after almost four minutes of cuts were made, it has yet to issue a certificate for theatrical exhibition.

Sue Clark, BBFC spokesperson told the Daily Echo yesterday that they expected to issue the film version with an 18 certificate.

She said: We have seen the DVD version and they have made the cuts that we requested. If they send the same version in for cinema release there is no reason why we couldn't have that ready for the end of the week.

Alan Jones

A leading film critic has backed A Serbian Film and called for the public to be allowed to judge it for themselves. Alan Jones, who contributes to Radio Times and Film Review, organised the Film4 FrightFest event in August, from which the film had to be pulled after Westminster council refused permission to show it uncut.

He said dropping the film had been a tragedy . I have seen the film numerous times now and have discussed it at length with director Srdjan Spasojevic. Sure, the subject matter is as shocking as they come, but what you actually see on screen in the uncut version, is brilliantly handled so you think you saw what you didn't, he said.

He said the film was a compelling and provocative work of utter hatred and anger against the treatment the Serbian government meted out to its people.

Jones added: That this film has become such a controversial cause celebre – only in the UK and Turkey, I may add – is yet again another example of how the BBFC can tell responsible adults over the age of 18 what they can and can't see. I find that more outrageous than anything seen in the movie.

 

29th October
2010
  

Update: A Tendency to Eroticise or Endorse...

A Serbian Film appears in the BBFC database

a serbian film posterA Serbian film is a 2010 Serbia adult horror by Srdjan Spasojevic. See IMDb

Passed 18 after 49 BBFC cuts totalling 4:12s for:

  • 2010 Revolver video

The BBFC commented about the cuts:

Cuts required to remove portrayals of children in a sexualised or abusive context and images of sexual and sexualised violence which have a tendency to eroticise or endorse the behaviour. Cuts made in accordance with BBFC Guidelines and policy, and the Video Recordings Act 1984.

The consumer advice is

Contains very strong sexual violence, sex and violence

 

8th November
2010
  

Update: Concapa Crap...

Nutters get A Serbian Film banned in Spain

a serbian film poster A Serbian film has been banned from public screenings in Spain following a provisional injunction by a court in San Sebastian.

The injunction was served to San Sebastian's Fantasy and Terror Film Week, four hours before A Serbian film was due to screen at the festival, forcing Film Week director Jose Luis Rebordinos to pull the film from the program.

Two more festivals in Spain -- in Molins de Rei and Malaga -- have followed suit.

The film played at October's Sitges Fantasy Fest, stirring a wide range of reactions. One was a request by Spain's Catholic Confederation of Family and Student Parents (Concapa) for the film to be yanked from San Sebastian's Terror Week -- a petition that appears to have prompted the temporary injunction. Concapa argued the film offended human dignity and the underage.

Currently the ban is temporary, the San Sebastian court still has to rule on a definitive prohibition.

 

19th November
2010
  

Updated: A Serbian Opening Date...

A Serbian Film at the cinema and on DVD/Blu-ray

A Serbian Film DVD A Serbian film is a 2010 Serbia adult horror by Srdjan Spasojevic. See IMDb

The film will have a London premiere next Thursday, November 25 at 6:30pm at the Prince Charles Cinema, with Spasojevic in attendance.

The general release at UK cinemas is on Friday 10th January 2010.

Video versions are set for 3rd January 2011:

  • UK 2011 Revolver Blu-ray for release on 3rd January 2100 at UK Amazon
  • UK 2011 Revolver R2 DVD for release on 3rd January 2100 at UK Amazon

The film/DVD/Blu-ray were all  passed 18 after 49 BBFC cuts totalling 4:12s

The BBFC commented about the cuts:

Cuts required to remove portrayals of children in a sexualised or abusive context and images of sexual and sexualised violence which have a tendency to eroticise or endorse the behaviour. Cuts made in accordance with BBFC Guidelines and policy, and the Video Recordings Act 1984.

The consumer advice is

Contains very strong sexual violence, sex and violence

Offsite Review: A Serbian Film: Is this the nastiest film ever made?

19th November 2010. See  review from  independent.co.uk

The IndependentPublicists whispered to journalists that the film was truly vile . Prior to its AFM screenings, the movie had already been yanked out of Frightfest in London when Westminster Council ruled it couldn't be shown in its uncut form and had started frenzied debates about censorship and freedom of speech. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) had asked for a staggering number of cuts in the film and for a full four minutes of footage to be excised in order for it to qualify for an 18 certificate.

Not since the heyday of the so-called video nasties in the early Eighties had a movie exercised the censors in quite such an extreme way.

Much of the imagery in A Serbian Film is indeed quite repellent. That, though, is not the same as saying that it is a repellent film. The film-making is stylised and self-conscious. The most notorious scenes (the rape of the new-born baby, the scene in which the star decapitates a woman and continues to have sex with her headless torso) are grotesque but very obviously contrived. In the film-within-a-film, Vukmir, the psychiatrist-turned-porn director, may be striving for the ultimate realism but Spasojevic heightens the absurdity. Forty years after A Clockwork Orange, audiences are surely too used to these kind of shock tactics to be affected by them – or so we might think. There is a knowing irony. As in Michael Haneke's films, the director seems to be challenging the audience to question their own voyeuristic instincts. As in Peter Greenaway's The Baby of Macôn, he is using extreme imagery for polemical purposes.

... Read the full review

 

28th November
2010
  

Update: The Monolithic Power of Hype...

A Serbian Film molested by the media

A Serbian Film DVD The BBC wrote a piece about A Serbian Film

Controversial movie A Serbian Film has become the most cut film in 16 years, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has said.

The dark thriller, which features disturbing scenes of violence and sex, has had four minutes and 11 seconds of its original content removed.

The BBFC said that it rarely cuts cinema releases with an 18 certificate.

[Previously the most cut cinema film was in 1994 when] the Indian movie Nammavar was cut by five minutes and eight seconds for violent content.

The movie was written by Serbian horror film critic Aleksandar Radivojevic and directed by Srdjan Spasojevic. Radivojevic has defended the movie, calling it an a diary of our molestation by the Serbian government . He said it was designed to show the monolithic power of leaders who hypnotise you to do things you don't want to do .

The subtlety of the use of the word 'film' to denote a 'cinema film release' must have delighted the BBFC. News sources picking up the story paraphrased it, and rather suggested that this is the most censored BBFC film in general.

In reality the BBFC have made much bigger cuts to plenty of videos and DVDs in recent years. Just in the last few days, the BBFC cut 8 minutes from a dated 35 year old sex comedy called Fantasm .

And considering what the BBFC get up to with porn films, then the Serbian cuts are a mere trifle. The BBFC recently cut a whopping 94:57s from a US adult movie called Virgin Territory by Hailey Page.

The BBFC must also be very pleased that the press so far have somehow accepted that the extensive cuts to A Serbian Film have somehow cleansed the film of bannability. Not many articles have really called for bans or boycotts against the movie, in its cut form at least.

Snuff

The hype was nicely exaggerated by the Toronto Sun who picked up on the UK press stories and repackaged them under the headline:

Controversial snuff film edited

Release Details

A Serbian film is a 2010 Serbia adult horror by Srdjan Spasojevic. See IMDb

The general release at UK cinemas is on Friday 10th January 2010.

Video versions are set for 3rd January 2011:

  • UK 2011 Revolver Blu-ray for release on 3rd January 2100 at UK Amazon
  • UK 2011 Revolver R2 DVD for release on 3rd January 2100 at UK Amazon

The film/DVD/Blu-ray were all  passed 18 after 49 BBFC cuts totalling 4:12s

The BBFC commented about the cuts:

Cuts required to remove portrayals of children in a sexualised or abusive context and images of sexual and sexualised violence which have a tendency to eroticise or endorse the behaviour. Cuts made in accordance with BBFC Guidelines and policy, and the Video Recordings Act 1984.

The consumer advice is

Contains very strong sexual violence, sex and violence

See trailer from youtube.com

 

3rd December
2010
  

Update: A Serbian Statement...

BBFC release their Extended Classification Information about A Serbian Film

BBFC logo Srpski Film - A Serbian Film is a Serbian language drama, subtitled in English. It tells the story of a retired porn star, Milos, who is lured out of retirement by an offer of money from a mysterious figure called Vukmir. Vukmir wants Milos to star in what he describes as an artistic film for the foreign market but it soon becomes clear the project will require Milos' participation in various acts of sexual violence and paedophilia. The film was classified 18 for very strong sexual violence, sex and violence.

The BBFC's Guidelines state that In line with the consistent findings of the BBFC's public consultations and the Human Rights Act 1998, at '18 the BBFC's guideline concerns will not normally override the principle that adults should be free to choose their own entertainment. Exceptions are most likely [...] where material or treatment appears to the BBFC to risk harm to individuals or, through their behaviour, to society - for example, any detailed portrayal of violent or dangerous acts [...] which may cause harm to public health or morals. This may include portrayals of sexual or sexualised violence which might, for example, eroticise or endorse sexual assault'. More generally, the Guidelines state that A strict policy on sexual violence and rape is applied. Content which might eroticise or endorse sexual violence may require cuts at any classification level and that intervention, even at the adult level, is more likely with sexual violence or sexualised violence which endorses or eroticises the behaviour and with portrayals of children in a sexualised or abusive context .

Before awarding an 18 classification to Srpski Film - A Serbian Film , the BBFC required forty-nine individual cuts, across eleven scenes. A number of cuts were required to remove elements of sexual violence that tend to eroticise or endorse sexual violence. Further cuts were required to scenes in which images of children are intercut with images of adult sexual activity and sexual violence. It is important to stress that the film makers took precautions to avoid the exposure of the young actors to the film's most disturbing scenes and that, in the BBFC's view, no scene is in clear breach of the Protection of Children Act 1978.

Even after cuts, the film's scenes of very strong sexual violence remain potentially shocking, distressing or offensive to some adult viewers, but are also likely to be found repugnant and to be aversive. They are not credibly likely to encourage imitation. In some scenes Milos witnesses, or is forced to witness, acts of sexual violence, including the suggestion that a new born baby is being raped. In the cut version, the rape of the baby occurs entirely offscreen, implied only by the sounds of the baby crying and by the reactions of the onlooking Milos and Vukmir. Although all clear shots of the baby being raped have been cut by the BBFC, it is worth noting that the film makers used a prosthetic model during the filming of this scene and that no real baby was harmed. Later in the film, when Milos refuses to participate in the acts required of him by Vukmir, he is drugged and forced to continue filming against his will. As Milos regains consciousness, he begins to remember what he has been compelled to do, including decapitating a restrained woman during sex and raping his unconscious wife and son. He also recalls, with the assistance of video recordings, some of the acts perpetrated against himself and others during his period of unconsciousness. This includes one of his female friends being suffocated with a man's penis, after her teeth have been extracted, and Milos himself being raped. Once again, the cuts required by the BBFC have removed the more explicit moments from these scenes and much of the action is now brief or implied rather than explicitly depicted. Nonetheless, the scenes remain potentially distressing and offensive, even in their cut versions. Cuts were also required to remove shots which imply that children are witnessing sexual violence, sometimes enthusiastically, or where images of children are intercut with images of sexual activity and sexual violence. This includes a scene in which images of a young girl sucking a lolly are intercut with a scene of fellatio, a scene in which the same young girl appears to lean forward excitedly as she witnesses a scene of violent fellatio, and a scene in which Milos' brother is fellated by a woman whilst watching a family video, featuring his young nephew. All such intercutting has been removed from these scenes. In another scene, Vukmir attempts to persuade Milos to have a sex with an underaged girl. Although Milos refuses, cuts were required to remove shots in which the young girl appears to be encouraging Milos to have sex with her. In spite of the fact that care was taken by the film makers to avoid exposing any of the young actors to anything disturbing, violent or sexual, this juxtaposition of images of children with sexual and sexually violent material is a breach of BBFC policy and Guidelines.

The film contains a number of scenes of very strong bloody violence, including sight of a man's head being repeatedly smashed with a heavy object until his skull caves in, a man's throat being torn out in close up, and a man being killed by having a prosthetic erect penis forced into his empty eye socket. These scenes considerably exceed the terms of the 15 Guidelines where Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable . Srpski Film - A Serbian Film also contains a number of scenes of strong sex. This includes sight of masturbation, oral sex, group sex, and sexual thrusting, as well as simulated ejaculation onto a woman's face. These scenes significantly exceed the terms of the 15 Guidelines where Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail .

Srpski Film - A Serbian Film also includes very strong visual and verbal sex references, including to bestiality and paedophilia, very strong language, strong language, and strong nudity, including sight of prosthetic erections.

Release Details

A Serbian Film DVD A Serbian film is a 2010 Serbia adult horror by Srdjan Spasojevic. See IMDb

The general release at UK cinemas is on Friday 10th January 2010.

Video versions are set for 3rd January 2011:

  • UK 2011 Revolver Blu-ray for release on 3rd January 2100 at UK Amazon
  • UK 2011 Revolver R2 DVD for release on 3rd January 2100 at UK Amazon

The film/DVD/Blu-ray were all  passed 18 after 49 BBFC cuts totalling 4:12s

The BBFC commented about the cuts:

Cuts required to remove portrayals of children in a sexualised or abusive context and images of sexual and sexualised violence which have a tendency to eroticise or endorse the behaviour. Cuts made in accordance with BBFC Guidelines and policy, and the Video Recordings Act 1984.

The consumer advice is

Contains very strong sexual violence, sex and violence

See trailer from youtube.com

 

8th December
2010
  

Updated: A Serbian Film Molested by World Censors...

Australian film censor bans A Serbian Film

A Serbian Film DVD A Serbian film is a 2010 Serbia adult horror by Srdjan Spasojevic.

The uncut A Serbian film had been submitted to the Australian Censorship Board for a DVD certificate.

But the film censor was having none of it, and has banned the uncut version of the film.

Note that the film distributor has the option to make cuts and try again. Maybe trying with the significantly cut UK version that was passed 18 by the BBFC.

Update: A Serbian Ban Explained

8th December 2010. Based on article from  refused-classification.com

Australian Film Classification Board The Australian Film Censorship Board has released its justification for banning the uncut version of A Serbian Film.

In the opinion of the Board, the film contains depictions of sexualised violence and sexual violence which have a very high degree of impact, including an explicit depiction of sexual violence. These depictions are on occasion inextricably linked to themes of paedophilia and child sexual abuse, which further heightens impact.

While the Board acknowledges that a degree of artistic merit and dramatic intent is evident in this fictional film, it is of the opinion that the film (including the examples noted above) is very high in viewing impact and includes an explicit depiction of sexual violence. The film therefore exceeds what can be accommodated within the R 18+ classification and should be Refused Classification pursuant.

A minority of the Board is of the opinion that the film contains a depiction of explicit sexual violence [the toothless blow job] , at 71 minutes and the film therefore must be Refused Classification. In the minority opinion, however, the remainder of the film can be accommodated, with restriction to adults, at the R18+ classification category.

 

9th December
2010
  

Offsite: A Serbian on A Serbian Film...

An interview with Srdjan Spasojevic

djan-spasojevic Music magazines including This is Fake DIY spoke to Srdjan Spasojevic, writer and director of A Serbian Film.

Screenjabber: Have the cuts that the BBFC have taken from the film affected how the audience is going to view it?

Srdjan Spasojevic: That's a tough question because I will always have a different opinion on that question than the audience will. Unfortunately that's the rules of the game and the crazy world we live in. I'm certainly not happy about those cuts, I never watched the entire film in this new version, I only saw on DVD those scenes that are cut. I'm not happy about that version, but as I understood last night, people who saw the uncut and cut versions said that it's still working, but the bad thing is that this version is made only by removing some shots, and the rest was just put together. In order for the new version to be better, some re-editing was needed, maybe some additional takes to be put back in the gaps where things were taken. It loses some pace, but it's like a bumpy road.

DIY: Did you not have the chance to oversee the edit before it happened?

Srdjan Spasojevic: I didn't want to be involved. They asked me of course, if I wanted to be involved and make those cuts, but didn't want to. We decided, and sent some materials they asked for that they could use. We weren't involved in making this version.

Beyond Hollywood: I guess the main thing is that people get to see the film in one form or another. If people see the cut version. Spasojevic: Yes, of course. The other thing that could've happened is for us to be so stubborn and then no-one will see it, so it's okay.

...Read the full interview

 

26th January
2011
  

Update: Screwed by Repressive Policing...

A Serbian Film allegory extends to Northampton Blockbuster

A Serbian Film DVD On Friday 21st January 2011 the Police raided an unsuspecting Blockbuster in Northampton upon receiving a complaint from a 'distressed' viewer and seized copies of the film despite the BBFC rating on the front and the content warning in large letters on the back.

The police with their usual, the complainant is always right, attitude didn't check with the BBFC before raiding the store for a perfectly legal film.

Blockbuster has now withdrawn the film from it's catalogue pending consultation with their lawyers.

Northamptonshire police sent dogatemywookie.co.uk the statement:

We received information from a member of the public that a copy of The Serbian Film at a branch of Blockbusters in Northampton contained images of child abuse.

We have a duty to investigate such claims and in agreement with the manager of the shop took a copy away to view and check that it was the edition that has been approved by the British Board of Film Classification for distribution.

It has been established as a legitimate copy of the film that has been approved for distribution by the BBFC and so is being returned to the shop.

 

10th March
2011
  

Update: Screwed Again...

Australia bans a cut version of A Serbian Film

a serbian film poster In November 2010, the Australian Classification Board banned the 99 minute uncut version of A Serbian Film.

Distributors Accent then prepared a 97-minute censored version that they hoped would achieve the desired R18+. The Classification Board had other ideas, and in late February banned the cut version. 

Note that the UK version runs at about 95 minutes, having suffered 4 minutes of BBFC cuts.

Despite the ban the Board did acknowledge that it was closer to a certificate:

... modifications have lessened the impact of some scenes to a level which is at the upper limit of the R18+ classification, this film contains depictions of explicit sexual violence as well as prolonged depictions of violence with a very high degree of impact.

See  article from  refused-classification.com that tries to piece together the cuts that the distributor had made.

 

12th March
2011
  

Update: Throwing Out the Baby...

US release details for A Serbian Film

a serbian film poster Fangoria have revealed the US release details for A Serbian Film:

Distributor Invincible Pictures said that Srdjan Spasojevic's movie will play select theaters across North America from May 13 in an edited version. The unrated A Serbian Film will be released exclusively via digital media distribution outfit FlixFling the same day.

CEO Tom Ashley said: It was always our intention to release this film uncut, but given the recent charges against Sitges director Angel Sala, we have decided to release an edited version. We believe this film deserves to be seen as the filmmakers originally intended and hope to be able to release A Serbian Film uncut in the future.

 

12th March
2011
  

Petition: A Spanish Film...

Film festival director allegorically screwed by the state

a serbian film poster A Serbian Film has got into more trouble in Spain.

The Barcelona public prosecutor has lodged a complaint against Sitges festival director Angel Sala, accusing him of screening child pornography. It is unclear whether the suit has been or will be admitted to court.

According to Spanish press sources, the Barcelona prosecutor's charge of child pornography relates to two rape scenes, one involving a newborn baby, another a boy of around 11 years of age. The baby in question was in fact a doll with legs animated by animatronics.

The Barcelona prosecutor's move has stirred a wave of protests in Spain. Writing in the El Pais, film director David Trueba argued Monday that If we believe that everything shown on a screen is real, Christopher Lee will be arrested one day accused of biting young virgins' jugular veins.

A Serbian Film played uncut at October's Sitges, stirring a wide range of reactions from critics and nutters. The showing moved Spain's Catholic Confederation of Family and Student Parents (Concapa) to lodge a complaint with Barcelona's public prosecutor for minors.

That prompted a San Sebastian judge to serve a provisional injunction on Tale, banning its screening at early November's San Sebastian's Fantasy and Terror Film Week in early November.

Update: Film Festival Directors respond

11th March 2011. Based on press release from sitgesfilmfestival.com

sitges logo SITGES International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia wishes to show its complete support for Angel Sala and, by extension, the decisions that he has made while exercising his role as Director of the Festival.

Regarding the recent statements concerning the screening of A Serbian Film , the Festival wants to state that the above mentioned title is not a pornographic film, but, in fact, a fictional horror film, and is not meant as an attack or humiliation against the sexual dignity of minors.

SITGES wants to thank all the support it has received from its audience, other film festivals and important cultural figures.

A Serbian Film was screened after carrying out all necessary informative and control measures in order to prevent any minors from accessing the screening. These measures consisted of information placed in the Festival media to guarantee awareness about the content of the film to the audience before its viewing, as well as demanding proof of age from viewers entering the theatre.

A Serbian Film has also been screened at the two most prestigious markets in the world, the Cannes Film Market and Film Festival and the American Film Market in Santa Monica, California, and will be commercially distributed in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.

SITGES wants to thank again all support shown, as well as to express its respect to all the criticism that has given room to a necessary debate about the importance of freedom of speech and creation in the programming of film festivals.

SITGES International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia considers that it has acted rigorously in providing the audience with all the information it might require beforehand. Nevertheless, the rise of critical voices will make the Festival reflect on their communication mechanisms in the future, emphasizing child protection, and defending freedom of speech and creation as it has done from the beginning.

Support letter by directors of Spanish film festivals

We, the undersigned, directors of Spanish film festivals, wish, in view of the leak to the press published this weekend, to state our surprise at the legal action taken against Angel Sala, director of the Sitges International Film Festival of Catalonia, for having included in the 2010 programme of the said event, at sessions for adults only, A Serbian Film, which it is claimed contains violent, pornographic scenes conflicting with the rights of the child.

Over and above our surprise at pinning responsibility of this kind on a cultural programmer, and not on those theoretically responsible for the content in question (the director and the producers, if anyone at all), we wish to recall, in addition to our support of A'ngel Sala, that the film has been screened over the last twelve months in festivals in Brussels, Montreal, London, Oporto, Austin, San Francisco, Toronto, Sofia, Hamburg, Helsinki, Puchon (South Korea), Ravenna and Stockholm, among others. A Serbian Film has also enjoyed screening at the two most prestigious film markets in the world: Cannes, and the American Film Market in Santa Monica, California. All of this without anyone, to date, having taken legal steps of any kind against the film, those responsible for it or its programmers.

We must also add that the film has won prestigious awards including three at Montreal (Best Film; Gold Award for Best European Film and Most Innovative Film); the Audience Award at the Fantasporto Festival in Oporto (less than a week ago); and the Best Screenplay Award at the FIPRESCI Festival in Serbia.

We also condemn the fact that behaviour such as that shown by the Office of the Public Prosecutor in Barcelona appears to be taking us back to times of censorship limitations on freedom of expression and cultural programming that we sincerely believed belonged to the past.

Signed by:

Javier Angulo (Festival de Valladolid)
Josetxo Cerdan Los Arcos (Punto de Vista / Pamplona)
Jose' Luis Cienfuegos (Festival de Gij'n)
Jose' Luis Rebordinos (Festival de San Sebastian)
Carmelo Romero (Festival de Cine Espanol de Malaga)
Jose' Sa'nchez Montes (Festival de Granada / Cines del Sur)
Claudio Utrera (Festival de Las Palmas)
Javier Marti'n Dominguez (Festival de Sevilla)
Eduardo Tri'as (Festival de Huelva)
Josemi Beltra'n (Semana de Cine Fantastico y de Terror de San Sebastian)

Petition: Condemnation of Public Prosecutor

12th March 2011. See  article from  contactmusic.com

Sign the petition Eli Roth, director of Hostel ,  has also taken up the fight against film festival censorship.

He wrote to his followers on Twitter:

If Angel Sala does in fact go to jail festivals will stop showing any controversial or edgy films and censorship will win. Whatever you think of A Serbian Film a film festival director should not spend a year in jail for exhibiting a filmmaker's work.

Please sign the petition from ipetitions.com

Comment: Unreal

9th March 2011. Thanks to Angelus

Anatomy Hell DVD Amira Casar Having seen today's article about A Serbian Film , it seemed to me that the debate throws the so-called dangerous cartoons law into sharp relief.

In this film we have a situation where illegal sex acts involving children are apparently being depicted, but the actual depiction is not of itself criminal simply because it isn't real . Similarly, in Catherine Breillat's film Anatomy of Hell (Anatomie de l'Enfer) , a scene apparently showing a boy inserting his finger into a young girl's vagina was passed uncut by the BBFC once it had been established that the said female body part was not real but actually a foam prosthetic.

So, what would happen if an artist recreated one of those scenes as a drawing and someone was then subsequently prosecuted for possession of it? Would it be a defence, as it evidently would be for a video, that the child depicted was not actually real? Unfortunately, no. So what exactly is it that's so dangerous about drawings that they must be regulated even more tightly than photographic images?

Comment: Clarification on Comic Books

10th March 2011. Thanks to Kochin

Lost Girls Hardcover Alan Moore The law only makes non-real depictions illegal to possess if they are are pornographic or a sex work as the BBFC refers to them. To answer your question a non-pornographic comic book adaptation of Anatomy of Hell would not be illegal even if contained such scenes. Even if 50% or more of the pages of a comic book consist of explicit sex acts it does not necessarily mean the book is pornographic.

Consider this work for instance, which is widely available from popular UK book stores like Amazon etc: Lost Girls

The BBFC can pass cartoon depictions of actual (non-real) underage sex so long as they are not pornographic, and so long as they do not believe they are credibly likely to harm . For instance maybe a cartoon adaptation of Anatomy of Hell traced directly from the film would be passed.

Comment: Film vs Drawing

11th March 2011. Thanks to Angelus who reiterates his point:

For any film, "sex work" or not, containing even a single image of a sex act between an adult and a child, possession of that film would (quite rightly) constitute a serious criminal offence. However, if it can be proved that the sex act did not involve a real child then it is legal and it may be certificated by the BBFC. The difference is that in the first case, there actually was a sex act committed against a real child, but in the second case, even though the act is realistically depicted, the "child" was not real.

Therefore, in the case of a photographic image, we must conclude that it is not simply the depiction of the sex act that is illegal, the act depicted must have actually taken place for the law to have been broken. However, for a drawing (and I was careful to use the example of an isolated drawing, not one in context in a comic book), it is the depiction of the act that is illegal, irrespective of whether it actually took place or not.

 

12th April
2011
  

Update: Violated But Survives...

Australian censors pass A Serbian Film after cuts on the 3rd attempt

a serbian film poster In November 2010, the Australian Classification Board banned the 99 minute uncut version of A Serbian Film.

Distributors Accent then prepared a 97-minute censored version that they hoped would achieve the desired R18+. The Classification Board had other ideas, and in late February banned the cut version. 

Now the Australian censors have passed a 96 minutes version of the film with an R18+ certificate.

Note that the UK version runs at about 95:20s after having suffered 4 minutes of BBFC cuts. So it appears that the Australians will see a version similar to the cut UK release.

The DVD will be available to rent and buy this August.

 

19th April
2011
  

Update: Significantly Cut NC-17 Version...

More details on the US release of a Serbian Film

a serbian film poster Srdjan Spasojevic's A Serbian Film will soon be getting a U.S. theatrical and VOD release.

Twitch has done some digging and is reporting that low rent distributors Invincible Pictures will be giving the film a limited theatrical release on May 13th in cities still yet to be named.

It will arrive on the big screen in an NC-17 cut running 98 minutes, with a longer but still slightly edited unrated version hitting FlixFling at the same time and running 103 minutes.

Home video details are still being worked out, but apparently the theatrical version will land on DVD with the stronger cut getting the high-def treatment.

By comparison the UK version runs 99:25s after 4:11s of BBFC cuts albeit with some cuts substituted. The BBFC noted the uncut submitted running time as 103:36s.

 

29th July
2011
  

Update: Fans Denied...

Brazilian film festival sponsor bans A Serbian Film

a serbian film poster A Serbian Film has been banned from being screened at the RioFan film festival by the event's main sponsor, Brazilian national bank Caixa Economica Federal.

A statement on the festival's website says organisers were given no further information behind the decision to veto the film's screening.

Meanwhile, a statement from a spokesman of the bank's censor board claims not every creative product fits in an unrestrained way in any medium or place.

 

2nd August
2011
  

Update: Serbian Blu...

A Serbian film scheduled for US DVD and Blu-ray

Serbian Film DVD Srdjan Spasojevic A Serbian Film will debut on Blu-ray in North America on October 25, 2011, courtesy of independent distributor Invincible Pictures. The news comes after the Serbian horror movie had a brief theatrical run and appeared on VOD through FlixFling.

Twitch Film is reporting that Invincible hasn't yet released the content, runtimes and extras that will be included on the Blu-ray and DVD. However, the studio has listed that the Blu-ray is expected to include the unrated version of the movie, which features approximately an extra minute of footage. However it has previously been suggested that the unrated version will still be cut.

Update: Uncut

The Scandinavian release on the Cinematic Vision is uncut but has no English subtitles for the Serbian soundtrack

 

4th August
2011
  

Offsite: Who's Afraid Of Hope Solo's Nipple?...

ESPN are!

espn logoHope Solo is a nascent sporting sex symbol. A celebratory image of her ended up splashed across the internet and in particular on the home page of the ESPN website. However it was spotted that a sticky out bit had been photoshopped away.

...See the full article

 

18th August
2011
  

Update: South Australia Recommends...

A Serbian Film. Good enough to ban

Serbian Film DVD Srdjan Spasojevic On the day before Australia's A Serbian Film DVD release, South Australia has decided to ban it.

The movie has been given an Australian R18+ rating after cuts similar to the UK release.

Attorney-General John Rau says the film was banned by the South Australia's Classification Council. He explained:

It was grotesque at a number of levels. Exploitative sexual violence, offensive depictions of interactions between children and adults, exploitative behaviour generally of a nature that is so unusual that I can't imagine how any right-thinking person could think that this was something that should be appropriately, legally obtained in South Australia.

It's not just my opinion, but the opinion of the South Australian Classification Council, that we respectfully disagree with the decision made at a national level in respect to this particular film.

Nutter controversy about the film had also prompted the Federal Government to ask the national film classification board to review its decision to allow the film into Australia. A spokeswoman for Federal Justice Minister Brendan O'Connor says the review will not affect the imminent screening of the film at the Melbourne festival.

 

19th September
2011
  

Update: Political Appeal...

Australia's Review Board re-bans A Serbian Film

Serbian Film DVD Srdjan Spasojevic Director Srdjan Spasojevic's controversial psychosexual thriller A Serbian Film has been re-banned on appeal by Australia's Classification Review Board.

The CRB will release an official statement later, but their decision overrules the Film Classification Board who passed a cut version with an R18+ rating.

The film's distributor, Accent Films, tweeted:

A SERBIAN FILM has been refused classification by the Classification Review Board. That's democracy, right? What's next, a media inquiry???

And again a little later:

BTW, we have a great relationship with Classification Board. This is really not their doing. It's political.

The film was initially banned by the Classification Board in November 2010. Accent shaved two minutes off the running time, re-submitted it for classification, and it was banned again in February. A second censored version was passed in April and release on DVD in August in every state except South Australia, where it was banned by the state's Classification Council.

Nutter controversy about the film had prompted the Federal Government via Justice Minister Brendan O'Connor to ask the national film classification board to review its decision to allow the film into Australia.

Crikey writes:

One of the side effects of the CRB's decision is that it detracts from the organisation as a reputable decision-making body. To give the film a green light one week, and rescind that decision three weeks later, with potentially significant effects on the stores that bought copies and the distributor which supplied them, sends a message that our classification system is fickle and inconsistent.

 

20th September
2011
  

Update: Collective Nutters...

A group called Collective Shout claim responsibility for a rating review for A Serbian Film that lead to its ban

collective shout logoNew nutters on the block, Collective Shout describe themselves as a new grassroots campaigns movement mobilising and equipping individuals and groups to target corporations, advertisers, marketers and media which objectify women and sexualise girls to sell products and services.

They have also claimed that it was they who called for a review of the R18+ certificate for A Serbian Film. This review led to the R18+ certificate being revoked and for it to be banned instead.

Other groups to have supported Collective Shout in their action are Children of Phoenix and Kids Free 2B Kids

 

28th November
2011
  

Update: An Allegory to Extreme State Control...

Australian government censors explain why they banned A Serbian Film on appeal

Serbian Film Srdjan Todorovic The Australian Government Classification Review Board has just published a detailed report on why it banned A Serbian Film . It is a very strongly worded explanation with numerous reasons cited, each of which would be enough to get the film banned.

Australian Government Classification Review Board

Review Date: Monday 19 September 2011

MEMBERS: Ms Ann Stark Ms Helena Blundell Dr Melissa de Zwart

APPLICANT Minister for Justice, the Hon Brendan O'Connor MP

INTERESTED PARTIES Accent Film Entertainment Melinda Tankard Reist (Collective Shout)

To review the Classification Board's decision to classify the film, A Serbian Film , R 18+ (Restricted) with consumer advice high impact sexual violence, sex scenes and violence .

Reasons for the decision

Pursuant to the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games, this film is refused classification.

The rationale given by the distributer for the very high levels of sexual and sexualised violence within the film was that it was an allegory of victims of war. The narrative of the film itself did not support this claim. Although the publicity accompanying the film makes this claim, there was only one instance within the film when any direct connection was made between the rape of women and children comprehensively depicted and the rape of the country viz at 52 minutes Vukmir, in answer to Milos expressed intense discomfort at having to make such a film in a kindergarten spends approximately two minutes describing the whole country as a victim. Other than this speech, there is no direct linkage of the extensive, gratuitous and exploitative depictions of sexual violence and child sexual abuse described in section 6 and the political rationale provided in the film's description.

In the opinion of the Review Board this does not provide sufficient rationale to justify the contents of the film in context. In the Review Board's opinion there are numerous examples already detailed of instances where sexual violence and themes of incest and depictions of child abuse have been used gratuitously .

In the Review Board's opinion, A Serbian Film could not be accommodated within the R 18+ 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.

The Review Board determined that the film, A Serbian Film, is refused classification.

See  the full report from  refused-classification.com

 

2nd June
2012
  

Updated: A Serbian Film...

Released uncut on US DVD

Serbian Film UNCUT Srdjan Todorovic It is reported that the US distributor,  Invincible Pictures, will be releasing an uncut Limited Edition DVD of A Serbian Film. This will be the first uncut release featuring an English language friendly version.

Some reports suggest that the release will be DVD only but the Invincible Pictures website also lists a Blu-ray version.

US: Uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

  • US 2012 Invincible Pictures R1 DVD at US Amazon released on 22nd May 2012 but only just in stock

 

 Update: A Serbian Film...

Belatedly banned by the New Zealand film censor


Link Here 10th June 2012  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

Serbian Film UNCUT Srdjan Todorovic It's taken a while but the New Zealand film censors at the OFLC have just banned the DVD release of A Serbian Film as 'objectionable'.

The submitted running time of 95:23s suggests that the New Zealand distributors had submitted the cut UK DVD version (95:20s) which had already lost 4:12s of footage.

The OFLC summarised its reasons for the ban:

The feature is an example of extreme cinema from Serbia. The film is about a retired porn star who accepts a role starring in an "art-porn" film. Once shooting begins he is tricked, manipulated and finally drugged into taking part in a catalogue of atrocities which include extreme and brutal acts of sexual violence and violence in association with sexual conduct. Other atrocities he witnesses or takes part in include cruelty, torture, sexual conduct with children and young persons, necrophilia and bestiality.

There is a high likelihood that viewers would be greatly shocked and disturbed by the extreme sexual violence and violence in association with sexual conduct, along with sexual conduct with children and young persons, regardless of age. The publication's sexual violence and violence in association with sexual conduct is concerning in a different way. Research has repeatedly shown that such depictions are likely to reinforce negative attitudes towards women in a number of ways. They have been shown to desensitise viewers to real-life violence, to reduce empathy with victims of sexual violence amongst both men and women, to increase rape myth acceptance, and to increase women's fear of sexual assault. In the current publication this material is so extensive and extreme that these injuries to the public good are likely to occur regardless of the age of the viewer. The publication is characterised by a significant level of dispute over its claims to merit, value and importance.

While the classification places a restriction on the freedom of expression as contained in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, it is a restriction consistent with Parliament's intention that publications containing such a high extent and degree of sexual violence and violence in association with sexual conduct, along with sexual conduct with children and young persons, be classified as "objectionable" to prevent the likelihood of injury to the public good.

 


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