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THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PORNO GANG

DIRECTED BY
Mladen Đorđević

2008

synopsis


At the end of the1990s, Slobodan Milosevic’s ruling period almost ended. Marko Djordjevic, thirty year old film maker from Belgrade still lives with his rather rich parents. His great ambition to make his first long length feature film will soon face the cruel reality when he realizes that any provocative topics that he was interested in for some time have no chance to pass in Serbia. When all his efforts to get to shoot any film finally fail, fully aware of what he is doing, and feeling creatively emptiness, he chooses to go right to the bottom.
Actually, he receives and accepts an offer from a porno producer to become a pornography director. In a way, he thought that he was revealing his auto destructive nature.

After a while, he left his cozy life in his parent’s house, and moved to a ramshackle old house, hardly making ends from a pittance income. Soon, he would come into conflict with the producer, mostly because of his ideas. He intended to introduce some artistic elements in the porno genre. Actually, he was quite convinced that a porno film could be treated equally to other genres. After he spends almost all his producer’s money for the completion of one of his “porno-artistic” project, the things go bad, and he gets in conflict not only with the producer, but with his brother, Strahinja, a police officer, as well.

The producer and his brother’s anger become fiercer when they realize that Marko hired producer’s porno actors, for his new project, the “porno theatre”. The producer treated them as his own property, so Marko is beaten up and is forced to leave Belgrade. He left Belgrade almost immediately after Milosevic fall, exactly in time for the rising optimism in Serbia. Marko started an uncertain tour across Serbian villages with his porno troupe consisting of the transvestite Ceca, the voyeur Vanja, homosexuals Jonny and Max, junkies Darinka and Rade, the auto mechanic Dragan, the manicurist Sofija, and the actress Una.

They performed quite provocative shows for Serbian villagers. Sometimes, Marko and his outsider group had to run away from an angry auditorium. Marko has the bright idea to intertwine pornographic topics and current socio-political issues in his performances just to make them more interesting. His main support was coming from Una, the twenty seven year old failed actress, a product of the Belgrade’s private Academy of arts. She fell in love not with Marko but with his unrestrained nature. Marko meets German journalist, Franz by accident. Franz was reporting from the Balkans since the beginning of wars, in the early1990s. It seemed that Franz was also producing so-called “snuff” movies. Mostly, these are short length forms of violent pornographic film, with authentic scenes of violence and killings, without fakes and tricks, especially arranged for camera. Franz is one of the many producers who come from the West and work for covert snuff film market aimed to entertain rich, idle people. They usually use poor, tormented victims from the turbulent, war-torn Balkans which no one could protect. Franz offers Marko to make snuff films with his troupe. Fees for the job were quite high. After a long consideration and hesitation, the troupe finally agreed. The actors would be exclusively the ones who are ready to die voluntarily.

Marko shoots their life stories before actually starting to shoot the real film. In the meantime, we get familiar with the life of inhabitants of some remote Serbian villages. They are not willing to live any more. There is a schizophrenic, a sniper, and a farmer whose daughter is dying, etc. They are all paid in advance so that they can provide for and secure their families. Their deaths are arranged beforehand in a rather dramatic way, together with actors from Marco’s troupe.

However, the troupe gets into conflict with the law because of its activities. They are forced constantly to run away. Marko has a big problem, especially with police officer Strahinja, because of his previously unsettled accounts with him. Strahinja is determined to capture this, how he calls, “perverted gang”. The troupe slowly fells apart. Homosexual Jonny is killed in a police chase. As a result of the tragedy, his boyfriend Max commits suicide. Dragan decides to stay in the monastery. On the edge of a nervous breakdown, Una decides to return to Belgrade. Marko goes after her. In Belgrade, Marko catches Una with an older, well off guy. She would soon realize that being “sponsorusa” (Serbian slang: a sponsor girl, a slut) is not for her. Marko comes to get Una back. Previously, Marko had killed a police officer Stahinja and his porno producer brother. He found them raping Vanja, filming that act by camera. In meantime, Marko found out that the rest of his troupe is killed in the car accident on their way back to Belgrade.

Marko takes Una back to the remote village. Their auto destructive lives are finishing there. They shoot their last snuff movie with themselves as the only actors. Hugged, before the camera lens, they cut their veins and die.

director's explication

“LIFE AND DEATH OF PORNO GANG” is a film about the contemporary Serbia from the point of view Marko Djordjevic, an unfulfilled film director, with an auto destructive personality, who also happened to be the main character in the movie. This is a story about two eras of modern Serbia: first, during Milosevic’s reign, and second, post-Milosevic period, Serbia after October 5.

Pessimism prevails in both epochs. Marko, as film director, travels with his troupe across Serbia. Shot in the so called “road movie genre”, we are witnessing harsh and pessimistic images of Serbian provincial life. These images very clearly depict the process of the group’s destruction, which found itself somewhere between two officially recognized Serbia’s, urban and rural.

The theatre troupe with Marko at its helm represents the third Serbia, a group of social outcasts, on the margins in almost every society. They are not able to find comfort anywhere, and are almost always cast off from every society. The journey of the troupe towards un-happy ending overlaps with the internal struggle of the main character Marko. When he realizes that all his life was doomed to failure right from the beginning, he ends it by committing suicide.

The feelings of failure, weakness, anger, and pessimism will be appropriately visually covered through the documentary and a rather authentic approach. The camera will not be steady, but used exclusively “from the hand”; raw images will be captured using only natural light sources; digital technology will be used for its unmasked effects; rough editing cuts, jump cuts, etc. All these effect will be used in order to create an atmosphere of destruction and more realistic, moving, and reminding images of the theatre troupe involved in shooting snuff movies. The explanation and a good reason for using digital technology and shooting “from the hand” is because there is a parallel story as well- the main character’s life which would be filmed with steady camera.

However, roughness, brutality, and explicity are the dominating effects of this film whose intention is not only to shock an average spectator. These dark and bizarre images, scenes of material and spiritual destruction are used to express the author’s impression of modern Serbia, and at the same time to highlight the lacking ability of the main characters, and their incompetence to avoid complete disaster. At the same time, the film depicts flirting with pornography just to show Eros and Tanatos ties, or conections between destructiveness and creative ability of individuals and the entire nation.

However, it is important to stress that the „darkness“ is not monotonous or tasteless, but rather filled with unavoidable black humour reflected in placing the characters, through dialogue, and their incapability in rather bizarre circumstances.
This movie style owes a lot to the domestic so-called „black wave esthetic“, not only because of its visual identity but also by choosing rather rustic locations, and above mentioned camera style. The main character’s tendency of looking on the dark side of things and his auto destructive personality would add more effect, in light of political and social engagement, and criticism. Also, two scenes will be inserted in the film, one from the film „Rani radovi“ (Early Works), and the other from the film „Kad budem mrtav and beo“ ( When I Am Dead And Gone).

The main characters in the film (Marko, Una, the rest of the theatre troupe, Franz, Cane, and Strahinja) will be professional actors, while other roles will be played by non professionals, so-called „naturscik“. Using non-professional actors is in accordance with documentary concept of the film, and the picturesque image of Serbia they are touring. The main, professional actors will play their roles without irony, therefore very realistical and spontaneos. This is also a way to harmonize acting of the professional actors with the „naturscik’s“ perfomance. In order to avoid harming the main concept of the story, the professional actors will be the less known individuals.
Also, it is very important to stress that „LIFE AND DEAD OF PORNO GANG“ relies on my earlier documentary feature film, „MADE IN SERBIA“. In that film I was also concerned with images of modern Serbia, through the atypical prism of porno industry.

Working with the real porn actors in that movie, and having a great experience in making documentaries, I believe would be of great help for my new film.

Trailer

CIRCLES
CLIP
BESA
THE WOMAN WITH A BROKEN NOSE
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PORNO GANG
THE TRAP
ABSOLUTE HUNDRED
 
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