Fantasia 2010: LIFE AND DEATH OF A PORNO GANG Director Mladen Djordjevic Speaks.

Todd Brown, Founder and Editor
[Our thanks to Dejan Ognjanovic and the fine people at Fantasia for allowing us to reprint the following interview with Mladen Djordjevic originally conducted for the Fantasia blog.]

How did this screenplay come to be? Where did you get the idea for this story?

I relied quite heavily on my experience in shooting Made in Serbia (a documentary on Serbian porn-moviemakers), my friendship with porn actors, and on my trips throughout Serbia during the shooting and during the preparation of another project related to the Serbian mythology, with Milan Konjevic, six years ago. I wanted to connect this experience with some of my concerns related to the American horror, Japanese film, and also, I wanted to make a connection to camp, in the style of John Waters movies, with my "Black Wave" experience and see how that works in our Serbian mud. And then we have the story of snuff, which is a common theme in American and Japanese film.

What exactly attracted you to porn actors and related subject matter?

It is the result of my interest in the hidden worlds, such as the world of porn actors, my yearning to discover that which is hidden. And it can be seen in the movie, because despite the violence in it, there is some warmth, too. I was not trying to protect them or excuse them. I wanted to have people with whom it is difficult to identify, but through the course of the film you get close to them and get to like them.

That's right. They are not the conventional kind of characters often found in Serbian films, which are from the very start shown as pathetic victims, begging for the viewer's emotions.

Yes, it is a problem for me, even in foreign films. I am interested in negative heroes, who do not calculate: it is essential. It is important not to calculate in order to be authentic. Who am I (or any of us) to be placed above them and to give them forgiveness?

Did working on Made in Serbia make it an easier job to cast the Porno Gang?

No, actually that presented a new problem. Before I set out to make Porno Gang my idea was to shoot it with non-professional actors, with real porn actors. However, it turned out to be impossible because, first, these people can not be tied to a film like this: I do not have enough money to pay them to be with me for seven weeks (that's how long the filming of this movie was) - they all sustain themselves by some other activities. It's too big a risk, some of them could decide to leave the production halfway before the end or something like that. Also, these are demanding roles, there is complex dialogue and characters, and then I realized that I need to find real actors.
The next problem was finding people who have done acting and who had no problem to take off their clothes for the camera. In addition, the problem was not only nudity itself but also the question of ethics: some actors did not want to play people who are killing someone.

Can you explain the aesthetics of shock which you have chosen for this film?

The explicit imagery for me is more than just shock. Ultimately, shock is not particularly interesting to me. This violence in the film expresses a destructive attitude towards reality: I wanted the explicitness to be taken so far as to destroy the reality, the next step is just to make the celluloid burn (laughs). Of course, there are good films that were made through the opposite approach, but to me as an author this is what concerned me. I preferred the pornographic, the explicit, the sharp, stunning the viewer.

Is this the aesthetics which you have chosen as most appropriate for this particular scenario, or is it part of your lasting commitment which we can expect in your forthcoming films?

I still think in this direction. I'm interested to deepen the violence and destruction until there is a light at the end of the tunnel. To deepen it so much through the negative energy that the darkness would eventually bring some light.

Can you somehow connect this tendency with your love for horror genre, which is obvious in this film?

I did not make a classic genre film, my heroes are not imperilled as in a horror film, there's not much of suspense and horror in this film. Horror in it is reflected in the somewhat fetishistic attitude towards violence and brutality. It is a campy horror approach more akin to Paul Morrissey, Jodorovsky, Bruce La Bruce, etc.

Interview by Dejan Ognjanovic

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