March 11, 2015

WYH Recap: 03/13/2014-Srdjan Spasojevic @withoutyourhead

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Recap of Srdjan Spasojevic on
Without Your Head Horror Radio, 03/13/2014
by Vic Schiavone

Srdjan Spasojevic Interview on WYH 03-13-2014 logo

Hosts Nasty Neal and Annabelle Lecter welcomed Serbian filmmaker Srdjan Spasojevic to WYH Horror Radio for a rare hour-long interview.  Srdjan is best known as the director of the controversial movie “A Serbian Film”.

Highlights included the following:

NN:  In the early stages of  “A Serbian Film”, was it always the intent that the movie would be a metaphor for life and art in Serbia, or did you just want to make a movie?
SS:  “For me, it’s let’s make a movie.  I was never much of an analyst or a critic or reviewer guy.  I’m trying to make a film, and to say or just to incorporate my feelings inside it.  So it’s on other people, people who are analysts or movie critics, to talk about that.  For me, the beginning was let’s make a movie.  It was six years ago when we started to talk about that idea and that film.
As I can remember, maybe the first thing that was mentioned was ‘man trapped into the hell of the underground illegal porn industry’.  That would probably be my view of the world around me; the whole world that I’m living in.  My first intention was really to incorporate my deepest and honest feelings that I have toward the world that I live in and to make the best film that I can.  After that, probably when the work concretely starts, lots and lots of other themes are starting to be added and incorporated in the film also.”  
AL:  Did the depth of this film, for it obviously had a very deep meaning with so much symbolism, grow to this level where you became more attached?
SS:  “I was aware, of course, but I didn’t think about it that much.  Sometimes it happens that I listen to some analyst talking about my film and I say, ‘Wow, it’s really there!’, but I didn’t realize it.  In my defense, I approach a film instinctively and emotionally.  So, those things could happen.  As I said, I’m not much of an analyst; talking about what did you want to say, what were your intentions, or things like that.  It’s not always easy.”
AL:  Can you give us a good sense of what life is like in Serbia and why it was so important for everyone to be involved in this film?
SS:  “Tough question, and there is like a political smell here.  Life in Serbia is not easy.  It’s Eastern Europe, traditionally not too involved in an industrial business economy way, so life isn’t easy.  Of course, we are not like some jungle people; life in Serbia could be very interesting, and civilized people from Western Europe and even from the United States find  very interesting things in Serbia, like nightlife, discos, restaurants.
It’s a varied picture; a very hard life and very crowded and very colorful during day and night.  But, years and years of the bad way that we were going like the majority of Eastern Europe made lots of wounds on our bodies and on our souls.  It’s not about saying something; this film is probably more of a scream.  We gathered the crew and it’s like we wanted to scream together.
I don’t know; someone will take that scream as annoying, someone will take that scream as a scream for help, someone will say it’s so artistic it’s like a nice tune.  It’s hard to answer the question, but maybe it was screaming.”
AL:  Do you hope this movie plays on the conscience of those people who you are portraying as villains; do you think they might get something out of this?
SS:  “No; no way.  My intention as I said was to scream and to put my feelings on the paper, on the screen.  I can’t change the world; if someone finds this as motivation to do something good, great.  If not, I’m sorry.  I made this film dark, because dark and bad stuff move me to do good.  Maybe someone doesn’t feel that way.  Your previous question was about the audience; reactions were almost similar in any state or any place.  Lots of mixed extremes one way or the other; some people hated it very much, some people liked it very much.  For any film the reaction goes different ways.
There is no film made for everyone, or there is no film that everyone will say ‘Great!’.  But it’s always easier to pick a film like “A Serbian Film” or any similar to say listen how bad things are being said about this film, lots of people are leaving theaters, and so on and so on…it’s always easier to pick on movies like this.”
NN:  When you get that kind of reaction, when people actually walk out of the film, how do you take that?
SS:  “Even if I said I was approaching it emotionally and instinctively, I didn’t approach it stupidly.  I was aware that lots and lots of bad reactions would be around the film.  If I said bad things about the world, I have to expect that the world will fight back.  I didn’t expect that flowers will be thrown on me or some awards or Nobel Prizes.  In the film, I pictured a world that was really mean, so I didn’t expect nice things from it.”   

Other topics discussed included:

  • How has “A Serbian Film” changed his life?
  • Does he consider “A Serbian Film” to be a horror film?
  • Once he had the script written, how hard was it to get people involved in the movie?
  • How did people in Serbia react to this film?
  • How did he feel about people showing or owning the film being threatened legally?
  • What did the villain in “A Serbian Film” (Vukmir) represent for him?
  • Did he have experience in other kinds of art before he started making films?
  • What kind of films did he enjoy growing up and how has that changed over time?
  • Are there any recent movies that he has been drawn to?

Be sure to check out the WYH Facebook Group and join in with Neal, Annabelle, and the rest of the headless ones.