A Serbian Film – Q&A

A Serbian Film

Last Thursday A Serbian Film finally got its UK premiere at the Prince Charles theatre. Introduced by Alan Jones of FrightFest, this was BBFC approved version, with 49 cuts totalling 4 minutes and 12 seconds.

After the film, director Srojan Spasojevic and Executive producer Nikola Pantelic took to the floor for a brief Q&A from members of the audience.

We’ve just seen the cut version of the film, what were the cuts?

Srojan Spasojevic: I can’t really detail all the things that were cut, the list is very long. Many of the scenes featuring the children have been cut.

Nikola Pantelic: None of the scenes have been cut in entirety, just parts of them.

Alan Jones: When we wanted to show this at FrightFest, we had a lawyer watch the uncut film, and nothing in it contravenes UK obscenity laws. We’re baffled by the cuts that the BBFC required, which mainly focus on children (in an abusive or sexualised context). Especially as the filmmakers had gone to great lengths to protect the children during filming.

I’ve not watched the cut version, obviously as a director I’m not happy with the cuts, they change the whole movie, but this is the world we live in, I guess. We did not go out of our way to make a shocking movie, just an honest one.

What has the reaction in Serbia been to this film?

SS: As everywhere the reaction has been varied, some people have loved the film, others have hated it. We have had vocal reactions on both sides. But where it is seen as an art film, or cultural work, there seems to be more acceptance.

How did you get from wanting to put your political standpoint across to the way you made this film? Why pornography?

SS: Well it’s not a documentary. We wanted to treat real life as pornography, to show how in our country, in our region how people are brutalised. Our history over the past couple of decades is one of brutality and corruption. Every kind of job you get in order to feed your family you end up exploited and humiliated.
We chose to use pornography as normal, as an everyday, accepted thing, to get our message across.

There is a lot about family within the film, were you determined to comment on that?

SS: It is an idealised family, a porn star husband, an educated and understanding wife, a beautiful child. We wanted to show how that could be destroyed, despite the strong bond they have.

In certain rural areas of Serbia, women and children are treated like possessions, and this film also comments on how we are not protecting the most vulnerable. It was important for us to make that comment.

How did the cast deal with making such an extreme film? Did they have problems afterwards?

SS: Well it was not an easy shoot obviously and was very emotional for everybody. But all the cast were committed to it 100% and were very enthusiastic about the project. We were very lucky to get our first choice actors.

AJ: It’s worth noting that these are very famous actors in Serbia, who have won the Serbian equivalent of Oscars.

SS: Sergej Trifunović (Vukmir) has made Hollywood movies too. I think it was hard for Serbian audiences to see him like this, this is not a usual role for him.

How would you feel if a young child saw this? It’s already available on torrent.

SS: It’s obviously not a film for young children, not something that they should see, but I can’t control that. To be honest I have a greater concern with my movie being downloaded from the internet.

You said you didn’t go out of your way to shock, but you clearly have. Do you think you can make a film like this without violence?

SS: I don’t know. We wanted to represent very clearly how we felt, could we have done that without violence? I don’t know. I don’t think so.

What’s next?

SS: I have a couple of things that I am working on at the moment, I will be making another movie, but it won’t be a sequel to A Serbian Film.

Do you hope that the way you’ve made and funded this will prompt a new wave of independent Serbian Film?

SS: I don’t believe that will happen no. All the film-making is government controlled and approved. I think people will take the easy route.

NP: Actually I think we have done something here that people will follow. I think there will be a new wave of filmmakers who fund films differently. Of course that may in one year, fifteen years…

SS: A hundred years…

NP: Maybe, but it will happen, yes.

A Serbian Film will get a limited UK cinema release on December 10th and will be released on DVD on January 3rd.


~ by moviegrrlreviews on November 28, 2010.

One Response to “A Serbian Film – Q&A”

  1. Please make a sequal to A Serbian Film, picking up where it left off! Me and my friends loved it!

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