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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

EDITORIAL: A Serbian Film, Moviepilot.com, and Why Even Disturbing Films Need Respect

An article from Moviepilot.com called "I Watched A Serbian Film So You Don't Have To" appeared on my Facebook page.  Now, I'd heard a lot about writer/director Srdjan Todorovic's A Serbian Film and all the controversial press it's been getting, mostly due to its graphic depictions of various types of sexual abuse, violence and torture.  I find the argument of what can be shown on screen versus what simply shouldn't be shown to be extremely interesting, so I clicked on it.

Mistake.

I am appalled that a website with a professional face would publish an article that stoops to attacking a film verbally, and then revealing virtually every plot point and spoiling every twist and every act perpetrated during the film's running time. 

Why does this reviewer do this?  He justifies his actions by declaring the film reprehensible trash and naming anyone who could possibly enjoy this film as twisted, murderous, or at the very least possessing serious, serious mental problems.

Let us be clear: I am not writing this in defense of the quality of A Serbian Film.  I am instead writing in defense of A Serbian Film's right to be treated with the same respect any creative endeavor should be given.

And the thing is, I get that Moviepilot.com is a movie fan community website, so the writers are not necessarily fair or professional.  Strangely, my response to the post was the only one that I saw that addressed this issue.  All the rest basically railed on the film, about how sick and twisted people must be to be able to watch at all, let alone enjoy, a film with this kind of content.

Every film, every creative endeavor, deserves to be treated with respect, even if its content isn't something you agree with.  Is the film shocking?  Sure.  Is it hard to watch, and did it maybe go too far in its attempt to be "horror"?  Possibly.  You are welcome to both of these opinions, but the moment you begin to spoil it for others, you have reduced yourself to the realm of the amateur.

In today's world of bigger budgets and weaker stories where Hollywood movies have become a kind of cinematic novocaine, the ability of a film to arouse any genuine emotion at all, even anger or disgust, should be respected. 

For all his vitriol and judgmental attitude, I found that after reading the article, I'd lost respect for  Moviepilot.com, not A Serbian Film.




Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!