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Censorship and A Serbian Film

Film poster, A Serbian Film

It doesn’t come as a huge surprise to learn that The Human Centipede 2 (discussed in the previous post) has been banned in its current form by Australia’s Classification Review Board.  As a recent FILMINK news item explains, the film’s Australian distributer Monster Pictures plans to resubmit a modified version of the film.

This follows the banning earlier this year of Srdjan Spasojevic’s A Serbian Film, originally granted an R18+ rating in cut form. In the current issue of RealTime, Jack Sargeant details the events that led to the film being refused classification in this country.  A Serbian Film, whose director I interviewed for the September 2011 edition of FILMINK, is one of the more gut-wrenching horror movies that audiences are likely to experience.  Following the increasingly sickening experiences of a retired male porn star lured back to the industry by a mysterious job opportunity, it features depictions of extreme sexual violence, including infant and child rape.  [It should be noted that no children were actually present when scenes of violence were shot.]

A Serbian Film hardly celebrates its atrocities.  It’s a serious and, as the name suggests, darkly allegorical work responding to the horror of recent events in the former Yugoslavia.  I’m not a personal fan of sexual violence onscreen, especially not when shown in a trivialised manner, but such a blanket censorship approach to works of artistic expression scares me, especially when, as in this case, the film’s themes are misinterpreted.

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