Saturday, November 19, 2011
Made in Serbia (2005)
I was confronted by a problem: there were two movies before me with Serbia in the title and I wasn't sure which was the right one. The was A Serbian Film and Made in Serbia. Both had to do with the Serbian porn industry. One was a documentary and one was fiction film. I was pretty sure the one I saw reviewed was A Serbian Film, but in a moment of doubt I blinked and I picked both of them up. After the fact I realized the one I wanted was A Serbian Film. Which left me with the question: What the hell is Made in Serbia?
Made in Serbia is an oddly unforgettable documentary on the Serbian porn industry. It was made by Mladen Djordjevic who is still obsessed with an ex-girlfriend. He was once her bodyguard and then lover before they split. He went off to study film and she went off to Hungary where she started making porn films.
Finding he couldn't forget her he found he became obsessed with porn films from everywhere but Serbia. Serbian porn he was lead to believe was awful and a step above home made. Deciding to change the industry for the better and hoping to see his ex again, he decides to make a porn film of his own in which his ex will star. This film is the result of his deciding to both film his efforts to make the film and his effort to get to know everything he can about the industry.
Sexually graphic but completely unerotic this is a really odd film. Its a weird free form exercise that seems to be as rambling as the directors efforts. Starting with talking to the owners of an adult shop he moves on to talking to THE producer of porn in Serbia, who controls everything pretty much completely. From there we get to meet various actors and actresses who discuss the industry and why they do what they do.
Its a sad but lovable bunch of misfits who all seem like nice people who just happen to make sex films...not that there really are that many home grown productions since Mladen Djordjevic remarks early on that it is possible to watch every Serbian porn film ever made in one night. (The truly sad thing is that the Serbian film industry output for some years was just a single porn film).
I'm very mixed on the film. It's definitely a unique slice of life and a look at barely breathing industry in a barely breathing country, but I have no idea what the point of it all is. Its full of some intriguing characters but in the end, hell before the end I had no idea where it was going or why. Okay yes I know the film is tracking Djordjevic's journey to try and make a film and see his ex-girlfriend again, but I have no idea why is he sharing...
...on the other hand it's a film that kind of hung around with me. There is something about it that won't let me forget it. There is something that makes me want to share it. Its a film that I want to hand over to a few of my fellow movie nut friends who like off Hollywood films and stuff no one else has seen and say "see this"... basically its the sort of film that Unseen Films was started to highlight. As I frequently say the films here aren't always the best, but they are almost always interesting for one reason or another. Made in Serbia isn't the best, but it certainly interesting, in pieces if not in it's entirety.
Ultimately this is an okay little film, that's worth trying, especially if you can scrounge up a rental or a loaner.