Let’s watch : A Serbian Film or why did the “J” word magically get omitted ?

Film Reviews and political correctness have joined hands for  a 2010 “snuff” production by the name of “A Serbian Film”, directed by Srdjan Spasojevic.

It’s pretty interesting how just about every analysis of this movie follows the same pattern: Firstly, an elaboration of its violence (and it IS violent with its protagonist raping his own kid, a dead body and just about everyone he meets). Secondly, a well-developed mention of the scandalous NC-17 rating, as if no other film in the history of mankind ever received such censorship. And lastly comes the beloved topic of aesthetic inspiration of Spasojevic, which ranges from Brian de Palma to The Human Centipede. Impressive.

One may not want to admit it, but violence has indeed lost much of its subversive power. Long gone are the days were people, unexposed to gore, shook in awe before the film that even remotely depicted such taboos. Especially with websites like ogrish.tv roaming free in cyberspace, which put forth over and over again everything from terrorist acts to execution and suicide, “snuff” is no longer mysterious or innovative. So if A Serbian Film is visually outdated, what is the problem?

In a very “by the way” fashion, did political implications get treated, interestingly enough, especially if you consider the title. The use of the word “Serbian” has mislead many viewers and critics (especially Serbians among them such as Dragan Bjelogrlić. Surprise, surprise) into thinking that the movie is either plain stupid or plain cathartic in its allusion, or lack of it thereof, to Serbian nationalism. After all, every country with a nationalist past, has to, at a given point in time, get it out of its system and this is, to many reviewers and viewers, what the film is trying to do, in its own special way. Only it ain’t so.

The protagonist at the center of these very intimate crimes of necrophilia and pedophilia, played by Srdjan Todorovic, is constantly being ordered, drugged, coerced, forced and threatened by a mad director behind the camera filming the snuff movie in the making. Through this reflexivity, the director implicitly refers to ethnic cleansing and the government’s implication in it. As you may have expected it, his own opinion about his work is not nearly this complex, he talks about how everyone in Europe has lost their feelings. So he made a snuff film to show that he still had some ?? No!

The issue which is getting repeatedly left out here is that Spasojevic is NOT representing a bygone era in the history of Serbia, the way let’s say “Downfall” (2004) represents WWII, but one which unfortunately is still part of the country’s ideological and non-cathartic discourse. This is where a nice reading of the evening news is in order.

The fact that in 2011, murderer Slavisa Buric, killed in 1993 was commemorated as a national hero, while he is responsible for mass rapes and the notorious Srebrenica massacre says a lot. Also, flags depicting Ratko Mladic (huge Serbian war criminal currently on trial in The Hague charged with the Bosnian Genocide ) during a commemoration ceremony for Bosnian Serb soldiers killed in the Bosnian War of 1992-1995 right when Bosnia morns its 700 000 citizens killed in the ethnic cleansing, on the hands of people like Mladic should make you wonder about “A Serbian Film”.

The J-word the title refers to is clearly “JUSTIFICATION” and the scenario is the obvious “the government made me do it” just as the protagonist was forced by the director to commit the depicted crimes. There is no catharsis to consider, precisely because catharsis is not possible when the country is still knee-deep in ideology and demonstrating it during memorials.
So, A Serbian Film does NOT refer to Serbian nationalism, there is NO reference here or anything of the sort, only justification of what this nationalism apparently made people do. And there’s nothing more disgusting than one of the biggest blemishes in the history of crimes against humanity, which is the ethnic cleansing, than those who try to redeem themselves from its responsibility.

To put it in even clearer terms: A guy tries to justify the mass murder of 700 000 people and what the public is upset about is that his movie looks very snuff-ish ? Really ??

Written by Hanine H aka Kinofrau 

Published by

Kinofrau

Hanin aka Kinofrau: 27 and counting, Ph.D in Film Theory & Art History in progress, from the Middle-(B)east, a specter that haunts Europe, equal-opportunity offender.

8 thoughts on “Let’s watch : A Serbian Film or why did the “J” word magically get omitted ?”

  1. “700 000 people”

    So wrong. The death count is much, much lower. The total in Bosnia, for all three sides (Muslims/Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats – and there was a Croat-Muslim war within the main Bosnian war) is less than 98,000. And that number includes the “missing” – and not uncommon, the missing have been found alive and well years after the war.

    Additionally that number is mostly ARMY AND PARAMILITARY and not civilians. The Bosnian Muslims had the largest fighting forces within Bosnia (200,000). Plus Croatia sent in 40,000 troops for the duration of the war. Croatia was not sanctioned or bombed for having those soldiers in Bosnia. It was an open secret among all the foreign officials there in the war that Croats had officers and soldiers in the war.

    Plus, the UN officials who lived in Bosnia during the war witnessed the Muslims provoking and staging attacks many times. Things were done for the cameras. It was a war build on lies and propaganda as the west was using tool-separatists to break up Yugoslavia into ethnically pure or occupied/divided statelets to better absorb into the EU under their dictates. Also to further expand NATO/U.S. bases and power.

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  2. @Additionally that number is mostly ARMY AND PARAMILITARY and not civilians

    There are around 40 thousand civilians (all sides), which is almost half of people who were killed in war (so you cannot say mostly army and paramilitary.

    @The Bosnian Muslims had the largest fighting forces within Bosnia (200,000).

    Still not true. You are right about the largest fighting forces in infantry, but lets speak about artillery. Serbian side had around 600-700 hundred tanks (+ other things that JNA gave to them) and Bosnian side had only 100 hundred tanks (+ embargo of importing weapons). So number of people is not really important if you dont have nothing to defend yourself.

    @Croatia was not sanctioned or bombed for having those soldiers in Bosnia

    Serbia was bombed in 1999 when they had war with Kosovo. They were not bombed during the war 1992-1995 even majority of weapons, some number of infantry and paramilitary (Arkan, Legija etc) were coming from Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro in that time). Do not mix two different wars.

    @Plus, the UN officials who lived in Bosnia during the war witnessed the Muslims provoking and staging attacks many times. .

    Around 1,500 thousand children were killed during the siege of Sarajevo. They were provoking? Also, around 9000 grown up unarmed civilians were victims of bombing and sniper shots in Sarajevo? They were provoking by walking and going out for searching for food and water?

    Ethnical cleansing commited by VRS (army of so called Republic of Serbs): Bratunac, Foča, Ključ, Kotor Varoš, Prijedor, Sanski Most, Vlasenica, Zvornik, Banja Luka, Bijeljina, Bosanska Krupa, Bosanski Novi, Bratunac, Brčko, Foča, Hadžići, Ilidža, Kalinovik, Ključ, Kotor Varoš, Novi Grad, Novo Sarajevo, Pale, Prijedor, Rogatica, Sanski Most, Sokolac, Trnovo, Vlasenica, Vogošća, Zvornik and Srebrenica. THEY DID NOT SUPPORT PLAN OF GREAT SERBIA AND THEY WERE NORMAL CITIZENS OF BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA AND PROBABLY FOR VRS THEY WERE DIFFERENT RELIGION AND ETHNIC BACKGROUND. So that is provoke for you!!!!

    The UN officials said totally different things. Do you follow trial in Hague. For example yesterday Mr. Doyle said that he saw Japanese cetnik who was bombing Sarajevo and that VRS were unselectively bombing people and building in Sarajevo. Also he said that JNA supported VRS and that was obvious. So these things you are saying are completely not true and I cannot believe what propaganda must happened in your place to believe in words you are saying.

    @Things were done for the cameras. It was a war build on lies and propaganda as the west was using tool-separatists to break up Yugoslavia into ethnically pure or occupied/divided statelets to better absorb into the EU under their dictates

    Yugoslavia was country made of 6 republics and 2 autonomous regions. Constitution from 1974 says that if majority of people of republic decides to separate that they have full right for that. In 1991 in BiH over 60% says decided to separate from Yugoslavia because in that time majority of Yugoslavia was made of Serbian (so all decision would be made by them and BiH would not have any chance to do something). Also, Milosevic shut down autonomus of Vojvodina and Kosovo and annexed them to Serbia. His famous sentence: Serbian land is wherever is even one land.

    Also, Serbian people from these countries went to arbitral tribunal and asked if they can vote for their independence (in Croatia and Bosnia) and answer was negative (answer was: They have the right for their own culture, language and all that comes with it, but within the limits of the existing state).

    So basically people who were communist over the night became nationalists and started to kill their neighbours because they wanted to have Great Serbia (and wanted to live in one country at any cost even if they did not have right for that by any constitution or international law). Also, just look Hague and from which side are majority of people or for you that is all propaganda and conspiracy theory.

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  3. Thanks for this post…I love your conclusion:…”And there’s nothing more disgusting than one of the biggest blemishes in the history of crimes against humanity, which is the ethnic cleansing, than those who try to redeem themselves from its responsibility…”Thank YOU for being human and for your beautiful soul.
    P.S.Some people will never have it ….or get it.

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    1. You’re more than welcome. I was disgusted by the fact that what everyone saw in the film were the disgusting images and not the ideology behind it. I’m very glad you read the article. Do share it with your community and let’s get the message out there. Thank you so much, again! All the love ❤ ❤ ❤

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  4. You must realize that for most North Americans, this film is the first time they have heard of “Serbia” in any context. The majority would not be able locate it on a map & many don’t even know what continent it is on.

    It is not surprising most viewers won’t be shocked by the political implications of this picture…because they have no clue. They are completely ignorant of any history south of Poland & can only recall one European genocide (Holocaust)

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