Thursday, 2 December 2010

Day 68

... okay, yes I regret wishing for snow. “The Big Chill” reached London on Tuesday and tormented everyone, including the otherwise so snuggly Circle of Trust. It followed us in to campus, it blew through the closed window in class, it froze our hot food at lunch, it crystallised the windows in the pub, and it followed us all back to our respective homes, and I appreciate so much the value of an included heating bill. Most of the pieces on the BBC news site are called “snow causes more chaos” or “snow causes more fun” or “why we hate snow” or “why we love snow” or “gosh snow is awfully snowy isn't it” or “Serbian Film becomes most cut movie in 16 years”. I realise that last one has nothing to do with snow, but it’s turned up in almost every conversation I’ve been a part of in the last week. Don't continue reading this blog post.

The Serbian film in question is called “A Serbian Film”. Don’t look it up, don’t, ever, don’t even read about it, never think about it again, never look it up, don’t. Don’t. Ever. But I made the scarring mistake of following the chain of articles and reading the plot of this film. It’s the most hideous film I’ve even known existed, and it’s being banned all over the place for crimes against morality. Crimes against morality.

The idea is that A Serbian Film is symbolic, but its metaphors are so harrowing that they absolutely usurp their original meaning. For instance, I could say what A Serbian Film was designed to symbolise, but it's pointless, meaningless, lost. Yesterday, while he was cheerfully grating potatoes to make latkes for Hanukkah, my flatmate made the point that the concept of rape is wildly over-used as a symbol. These days it’s used as a symbol for absolutely anything and everything.

The same can be said for A Serbian Film, but it can be said for the reviews too. One reviewer said that watching the film felt like his “soul was being raped”. Well done, Tim Anderson, for validating A Serbian Film’s revolting use of symbolism.

However, Anderson also said “You don't want to see Serbian Film. You just think you do”. Perfect. That confronts my curiosity about this inexcusable horror, and at the same time ensures that I genuinely will never watch it.

Hopefully writing this down means I never have to talk about A Serbian Film ever again!

You can tell it’s a dark Winter’s night, can’t you.

I’d better watch Danny the Champion of the World and have some jammy dodgers.

1 comment:

  1. In the case of A Serbian Film it sounds like the metaphor was given to the film retrospectively, which seriously dampens its credibility as a political piece. But then with it being a horror film i don't think a smart subtext is a necessity (although it can sometimes make a good horror film better). Instead the main focal point should be within the success of the horror element.

    This is a genre that should not need to justify itself to audiences, as proper horror films should not appeal to the mainstream anyway. So far the reviews i've read tended to suggest that it's not going to be enjoyable, but it will definitely have an effect on the viewer. In my mind this is no bad thing - good horror films are not meant to be a pleasant viewing experiences. After the endless hollywood sequels/ remakes, reliance on comedy and the 3D gimmick, A Serbian Film sounds like a proper horror film. And if a piece of cinema can leave a lasting effect on the audience despite being all smoke and mirrors then that shows the folks doing it are doing a pretty good job.

    Incidently i have no plans of seeing A Serbian Film until the uncut version is put out (the way censors over-reacted to it you'd think the stuff in it really happened onscreen). With recent films like Martyrs, Inside & Frontiers showing the horror genre still has a kick to it then this looks set to continue the trend.

    The biggest potential problem is that the film may play out as if it is looking for a reaction; the set pieces dictating the story rather than the other way round. Judging by the summaries that sounds like a distinct possibility (as in the bad bits seem to happen purely because the bad guy is a tad perverted) in which case it could just end up as another angry child of a horror film, hollering and hoping that people listen to it like I Spit on your Grave, Jungle Holocaust or Faces of Death. Good horror certainly doesn't need to be gory (indeed, Halloween, The Wicker Man and, more recently, The Human Centipede are great examples of this) but then depending on the atmosphere they are trying to create, as with a smart subtext it can make a good horror film great so long as it is not just gratuatous.

    Sorry, i got a little carried away here