when allegory gets nasty


If you like torture porn, rape porn, incest porn, paedo porn, snuff porn, necro porn and (a bit of a breakthrough here) newborn porn, A Serbian Film has much to offer you. Even after the 49 cuts demanded by the BBFC spoilsports, it certainly earns its place on the shortlist for that sought-after accolade, “the nastiest film ever made”. Good luck to it, you may or may not think. Yet we’re not allowed to leave it at that. Famously, this film is laid before us not as a robust piece of entertainment for what will doubtless prove an appreciative niche audience, but as a political allegory. Whenever he gets the chance, the director, Srdjan Spasojevic, insists: “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.” Understandably enough, this claim has been derided as a pathetic attempt to accord respectability to a straightforward exercise in sensationalist depravity. Yet the more you hear of Spasojevic’s apologia, the more sincere he seems to be. He has after all lived through a traumatic period in his country’s history. He says he spent a decade trying to work out how to translate its essence into cinema, and concluded that pornography was the only possible metaphor for “the almost indescribable and exploitative chaos” that had dominated his life.

more from David Cox at The Guardian here.