Dir/scr: Maja Milos. Serbia. 2012. 100mins
Brimming with energy, anger and a sense of youthful frustration, Serbian film Clip (Klip), which had its world premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival, will court controversy due to its young teenage cast and sequences of highly explicit sex acts. It is a film that will divide opinion, but it is also one that demands attention.
Pleasure and pain entwined as she pursues what passes for love in such a brutal and uncaring environment.
Of course, teenage angst is a subject matter much beloved of filmmakers, but writer/director Maja Milos shows a lot of courage with this bleak and harsh story of teenage self-destruction, with the sense of hopelessness amongst the young generation in Serbia the backdrop. Festivals appreciative of its boldness will support Clip, though its raw sexuality and slightly uncomfortable voyeuristic nature may make the film a hard sell to distributors. The film screened in the Tiger competition section.
Maja Milos sets the film’s context right from the first scene. Sixteen year-old Jasna (an impressive Isidora Simijonovic, who was 14 when filming started) talks straight to her mobile phone camera, responding to the sexual come-ons for 18 year-old Djole (Vukasin Jasni) who she is in love with.
She lives at home with her parents (Sanja Mikitisan and Jovo Maksic) and younger sister, but avoids taking part in family life as a way of dealing with the fact that her father is seriously ill. Her only real interests are her posing for her mobile phone, getting drunk her friends and pursuing Djole.
She starts a ‘relationship’ of sorts with Djole, which mainly involves he submitting to his every whim (ranging from masturbating onto her, having her crawl around undressing with a belt tied round her neck, or indulging in anal sex), with their only real communication coming from that fact that everything they do is filmed on a mobile phone.
She gradually comes to terms with her father’s illness and is part of family visits to the hospital, though her real moment of humanity comes when via the school she visits a care home for young children and is drawn to young Stana (Miona Denisijevic), who she is mortified to find out may not have young to live.
But despite – or maybe if perhaps – of her brushes with the flimsy nature of life she is soon back pursuing Djole at virtually any cost, with pleasure and pain entwined as she pursues what passes for love in such a brutal and uncaring environment.
The film features two explicit scenes of fellatio, though Maja Milos points out that the young cast were not involved and body doubles were involved. In fact the end credits start with the statement, “Underaged persons weren’t involved in scenes of explicit sex and nudity”.
This, though, doesn’t alter the sense that scenes – and there are plenty of them – of Isidora Simijonovic stripping and writhing in her underwear as she poses for the ever-present mobile phone (filmed either by herself or friends) are uncomfortable. But what saves the film is that it dives headlong into the brutal, unpleasant (the young guys are all rather nasty and characterless individuals) and desperately sad world that may be facing young Serbs as they try and fit in at all costs and become personalities that can deal with their circumstances around them.
Production company/sales: Film House Bas Celik, http://bascelik.net
Producer: Jelena Mitrovic
Cinematography: Vladimir Simic
Editor: Stevan Filipovic
Production designer: Zorana Petrov
Main cast: Isidora Simijonovic, Vukasin Jasni, Sanja Mikitisan, Jovo Maksic, Monja Savic, Katarina Pesic, Sonja Janicic, Jovana Stopjiljkovic