Earlier this week we brought you news about Angel Sala, the festival director at Stiges who is facing child pornography charges for screening last year's controversial 'A Serbian Film.' The movie has been generating a ton of buzz about its depiction of a retired porn star lured back into the biz and the horrifying acts he endures while creating the ultimate XXX mind-bender.
'A Serbian Film's' filmmakers have relied on the festival circuit to promote their work, which they've been describing as a political jab at the Serbian government. A theatrical release seemed unlikely, due to two disturbing, key scenes that depict violent and sexual acts against children -- both simulated with a doll and animatronics. Now comes word that Invincible Pictures will be releasing an edited version of the movie May 13 to select theaters in North America.
At the same time, the unedited cut of the film will be shown on Invincible's digital media platform, FlixFling.com, allowing you to stream the horrors on the media device of your choice, including Facebook.
"It was always our intention to release this film uncut, but given the recent charges against Sitges Film Festival director Angel Sala, we have decided to release an edited version of the film," Invincible CEO Tom Ashley announced. "We believe this film deserves to be seen as the filmmakers originally intended and hope to be able to release 'A Serbian Film' uncut in the future."
Is this just the beginning of some serious backlash that festivals, their directors and transgressive cinema lovers will be facing thanks to the dangerous lawsuit being held over Sala's head? Similar charges have been brought up before, including those surrounding the controversial 'Cannibal Holocaust' (1980), which audiences and censors raged against due to its depiction of animal abuse and what many believed was the actual murder of its actors. The movie went through the rigors of moral censorship and a criminal trial. Ultimately logic and sanity won out over moral panic.
The same thing seems likely to happen here, since 'A Serbian Film' doesn't really feature child pornography, but merely a cinematic recreation of the heinous act. While many will find the film's violence and subject matter reprehensible, that alone shouldn't preclude it from existing and being shown to audiences who want to see it in its intended, complete form.
Whether 'A Serbian Film' is judged a critical failure or success, cutting the movie takes away from the director's original vision -- compromising what he was trying to say -- and sets a bad precedent for future releases that delve into graphic imagery or hot button issues. Filmmakers need a safety net to present their work to the world without fear of moralists using the legal system to practice censorship. Censoring films, or any art for that matter, is the first step down a slippery slope to a society where a select few determine what is acceptable for the masses.