Mladen Djordjevic’s The Life and Death of a Porno Gang (2009)

the life and death of a porno gang
Marko (Mihajlo Jovanovic) is a struggling filmmaker who can’t raise money for his high-concept sci-fi horror adventures. One day out of the blue he meets a vicious porn producer who introduces him to the world of adult filmmaking. Not satisfied with the unsurprising lack of artistic interest in the pornographic community Marko decides to hire a colorful group of adult film actors and set up a traveling sex show. The first porn cabaret, as he likes to call it, turns out to be quite the fiasco. Nobody in Serbia cares about watching a bunch of people fucking each other, while unsubtly promoting some sort of social commentary. The porno gang is struggling. There is no food. They live in the woods. Drugs keep their minds off things. Then one day, Marko meets a snuff film producer. He offers him a deal he can’t refuse: To film murder. Naturally they’re going to kill only people who agree to die and some of the money will go to the deceased’s family. Still, this is the beginning of the end of the porno gang. 

Due to its crude and tasteless depiction of sex and violence, this film might turn some people off. I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy to watch this film, especially if you’re trying to eat a sandwich. There are a lot of disgusting images and the filmmakers never shy away from showing you the ugly and filthy side of Serbia. That’s however precisely why I enjoyed The Life and Death of a Porno Gang. Mladen Djordjevic‘s storytelling feels honest, most of the time, and the grizzly imagery serves to forward the narrative and flesh out the characters. While we see quite a few characters throughout the film and they’re introduced to the audience quite rapidly, most of them become relatable and real. The film’s goal is not merely to shock the audience, but to entertain and make you think at the same time. In a way Mladen succeeds in doing what Marko wanted to do in the film: Create fun art with a message. Since I’m not Serbian I won’t try to get into their politics and social issues, but it’s pretty clear that there is a genuine concern for more than just nudity and gore in this film.

What I also appreciate is that the actors never “wink” at the audience, like they do in so many other “extreme” films. I like the film’s guerrilla aesthetic slash documentary style look. While some of the voice-over at the beginning is a bit much, giving a lot of background information, it may also just be that I was bothered by a lot of fast subtitles. The film looks very European, they don’t try to make it Hollywood and the image looks good without being glossy or polished, my hat’s off to Nemanja Jovanov. The acting is solid for the most part and a lot of the humor comes from the characters and their quirks. Not that it’s a comedy, but the film never takes itself too seriously, which is something a lot of movies with a social commentary tend to do. Thankfully, The Life and Death of a Porno Gang doesn’t overestimate its own importance. While the third act of the film becomes kind of predictable (but hey, it’s even in the title), I was still on board for the ride and to see how it ended. Overall I’d say I really recommend it, unless you’re easily impressionable.

Rating on First Viewing
(on my laptop)
7.5 out of 10

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One comment

  1. Pingback: İngiliz Basınından Drogba Yorumu: Efsane Geri Dönüyor | Viptravesti.org Travesti, Travestiler

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