Aug 30, 2012

Review: The Life and Death of a Porno Gang - 2009




The Life and Death of a Porno Gang Director: Mladen Djordjevic
2009 Drama
                                                                                                               
Marko is a young filmmaker with great artistic ambitions. However, it’s not so easy to get into the film industry and his ideas are shattered by producers who see no profit in his artistic projects. He makes contact with an adult film director and after a few days, he is offered to work for him. Marko does not forget his artistic ambitions and makes a rather bizarre pornographic story. This is not appreciated by his employer. Marko gets a new idea - a political pornographic variety show in Belgrade! A brilliant idea but the police shuts down the place on the opening night. So, Marko and his gang go on the road, the countryside might be more interested in the pornographic show. It is not exactly a success but there are at least those who appreciate the show. Soon, he receives an offer. A German producer convinces him that the really big money isn’t in pornography, at least not common one. No, he should make snuff movies – where people die for real on camera.Reluctantly Marko convinces the rest of the gang to go into the snuff making industry, an industry he knows nothing about but now the question is if he ever can get out of it...


Not long ago, another Serbian movie - Srpski film , caused a fierce debate around the web. I would lie if I didn’t say that it divided people into two sections, or really three sections - those who loved it, those who hated it and the others who had an opinion whether it should be banned or boycotted by the market. The film was obviously provocative, it was debated whether the film benefited or not from this. This didn’t attract the same attention at all, although I find this far more provocative and socially critical than Srpski film.


This is more humorous that the anxiety in Sprski Film. At times it feels like a black comedy in all the misery and it’s not nearly as obvious this film has to be shocking. It doesn’t have obvious disgusting scenes, which of course makes this film a more serious reflection, where the viewer is forced to think to understand the social criticism.  I'm not saying this is not the case with Sprski film, but it is a movie that you probably will find provocative whether taken as a socio-political message or not!


"Far more provocative than Srpski Movie"


So this is a more difficult film to feel disgust when viewing. Despite the title, it does not contain much pornographic material. A few isolated clips of gay sex and that’s all there is, more or less. It’s noticeable, but made in such a way that it only seems natural that it’s there. The entire film has such a documentary feel to it and it simply feels like it should contain those clips and scenes. It doesn’t really feels like there are any actors in the movie at all, it feels as if the actors are themselves – real people – and that’s quite unusual I think!


If I were to grade this it would be very high and getting higher the closer to the end as it gets. The movie gets better and better for each minute until it reaches climax. The actual pornography story that opens the film is certainly entertaining but it is not until the more sober elements come into play that it gets really masterful. This is a politically provocative film at its best!