Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Two years ago, a group of film critics launched a blog dedicated to "Chetnixploitation" - a subgenre in modern cinema devoted to the demonization of Serbs. Though in recent years it appeared to have been a passing fad, Chetnixploitation recently made a comeback, from a couple of throwaway lines in the latest Mission: Impossible movie to Angelina Jolie's directorial debut.

So, in the interest of public edification, and having been unable to find an adequate English-language explanation of the term, I've decided to provide a translation of the definition, as offered by the authors:
Chetnixploitation, noun

A common name for primarily cinematic works depicting the wars in the former Yugoslavia in a naive, one-sided, and grotesquely simplified manner; whether out of laziness/stupidity/ignorance or malice, all or almost all the horrors and atrocities are blamed on the Serbs ("Chetniks") while the responsibility of other participants in the wars (Croats, Bosnian Muslims, etc.) is either minimized, dismissed or even denied outright.
Such movies pretend to be art, yet amount to more or less camouflaged propaganda, seeking to "affirm" the black-and-white narrative of the Western media concerning the wars, with rigid roles allocated thus:

- Serbs ("Chetniks") are the aggressors, war criminals, rapists, robbers, murderers, terrorists, sadists. Bearded, with bloodshot eyes, bloodthirsty werewolves.

- Serb enemies (Bosnian Muslims, Croats, Albanians) are the VICTIMS: passive, pitiful, powerless, unarmed, principally women (to be tortured and raped) and children (poor crying orphans), innocent, with tear-washed suffering faces, sheep.

These films exploit the ethnic bigotry and the established imagery of the Serbs as war criminals, seeking to show (or in more sophisticated examples, suggest) their primary or even exclusive culpability for all the horrors of the Balkans Wars.

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