|image from the movie, A Serbian Film, is from here|
This kind of content – sexual violence as horror, and the male sex drive as monster - really hasn’t been explored this way on film before. I found myself reminded of the most distressing literary explorations of the subject that I have ever encountered: American Psycho, Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door, but even more so than those – Andrea Dworkin’s Pornography: Men Possessing Women. Any heterosexual male who has ever read Dworkin has doubtless gone through the same cycle I did of being enraged by the assertions made of our gender, yet ultimately coming to the crushing realisation that everything said about the masculine was true: the drive to dominate, to brutalise, to attempt to satiate the ultimately insatiable appetite.The above passage is from a review of a movie called A Serbian Film. The full review may be read *here*. There's plenty of sexualised violence against women in the film. And it's being discussed as if extreme misogyny something new in cinema. Apparently the author forgot about Snuff, and most films by Brian DePalma and David Lynch. Or mainstream pornography films.
The reviewer, Ben Bussey, seems to be making a simultanously pro-feminist and anti-feminist point: that men desire to torture women, and that men will torture women because men desire to do so. See, for example, this portion of his review.
This, I think, is the overriding theme that has made A Serbian Film the hot topic it is. At the screening, director Spasojevic reiterated his assertion that the film’s primary function is to serve as a metaphor for life in his home nation (and while I do not doubt his conviction, I must say I do not entirely approve of filmmakers promoting so specific a reading of their work; there’s a lot to be said for leaving things open to interpretation). But to my mind the film is really driven by the universal theme of the male sex drive, and of course the universal taboos of rape and paedophilia. It is not anti-porn per se - central protagonist Milos (the also remarkable Srdjan Todorovic) is portrayed as a well-balanced, down-to-earth family man, never frowned upon for his chosen profession – but tough questions are asked about where ‘good’ porn ends and ‘bad’ porn begins, and just how much it takes for a man to embrace those heinous impulses which, like it or not, on some level exist within us all.If this is what he's saying, I will say that I don't agree with him that a rape-impulse (and practice) in men being an inevitability, or asocial. Or biological. Or natural. Or universal. Such a viewpoint, that men will rape women and that this terroristic action is not due to conditioning one gets in the political formation of patriarchal manhood in rapist-protecting societies, is one that MRAs and "anti-misandrists" ought to be getting their boxers in a bunch about. Because, as has been noted here many times: when men openly say what men do, when it is in agreement with what radical feminists notice about men's behavior, the men are not called out as man-haters by other men (or, for that matter, as woman-haters). It is only when radical feminists note what men do that men deny doing that those women get called man-haters, not woman-lovers, and not truth-tellers.