1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Cut to ribbons by BBFC, but still "enjoyable",
This review is from: A Serbian Film  [DVD] (DVD)
After reading many, many reviews on "A Serbian Film", I finally got around to buying the UK DVD and watching it today. It was perhaps my excessive research into the film - which I had learned had a reputation as being one of the most sickening and disturbing of all time - which ultimately made my watching of the UK DVD somewhat disappointing: much of the "grotesque" images have been excised by the BBFC to save our souls.
The film is undoubtedly original and provocative. The allegory of life/capitalism being synonymous with pornography/prostitution (which in the UK DVD is explained by the director before the film begins) is one which the viewer can understand, although, for me, is not at all convincing. I therefore felt, going into the film, that I was watching something which had some underlying meaning, other than gratuitous violence and pornography.
As others have said, the acting is very good and the soundtrack superb. Milos, the main character, is convincing and quite terrifying at times.
Unfortunately, the UK DVD failed to shock me; this may well be due to knowing a fair amount of the content before watching! However, much more is actually due to the BBFC cutting almost five minutes of original footage from the UK version. The infamous "baby scene" almost passed me by; after watching the film, I even looked at details of the original cut to find out what this was meant to entail! I do not deliberately seek out scenes of this kind, but I had an expectation that this would be in the UK version (to some degree), and was looking forward to being thoroughly shocked and repulsed (isn't film meant to evoke emotion?), but instead I found myself thinking that the UK DVD is actually rather uneventful, compared with some other extreme horrors.
It is not only the "baby scene" which has been all but removed, but almost every other graphic scene has been edited by the BBFC in some form or other. I therefore finished the film feeling quite angry that I had spent money on what is ultimately an incomplete DVD. I do not like adults being told what fictitious material they can and cannot watch. I am also confused that a film such as "Martyrs", which features prolonged, explicit violence perpetrated by a man against a woman, and which made me feel very uneasy, passes completely uncut by the BBFC! Likewise, I understand that "Irreversible" (which I have not yet seen) lacks BBFC intervention.
That said, the UK version still has some fairly repugnant moments (the themes of incest and necrophilia haven't been completely omitted), but it all just feels a bit too short, so the impact is lessened. Perhaps I am just desensitised to such material. Maybe the film-maker is deriding us for seeking out violent/pornographic images. Who cares? I went into this film wanting to be shocked (this is why I "enjoy" horrors, much the same as why people "enjoy" theme-park rides), and that didn't really happen because of the BBFC's concern for adults' welfare. But anyway, contrary to the BBFC's intention, I will probably look to get a copy of the uncut version now!