"Clip" by Serbian filmmaker Maja Milos is a graphic exploration of the confusion and turbulence in adolescent life. Unfortunately, the teenage drama’s extraordinarily explicit scenes of sex and violence go over the top and fail to add weight to the picture.
The entry for the Tiger Awards at the 41st International Film Festival Rotterdam was the debut feature of the 28-year-old Milos. The film’s protagonist, Jasna (played by Isidora Simijonovic), reminds me of myself at that age, both of us responding to teenage depression and frustration with rebellious acts.
A scene in the film "Clip"
Jasna, however, takes it too far. Ashamed of her terminally ill father, she refuses to help her mother to care for him, and attempts to escape reality by skipping school and indulging in wild partying, sex and drugs. She frequently lies to her family but is desperate to please her boyfriend with all her means. To her, life seems otherwise meaningless.
The film has some obvious merits, such as its technique of integrating amateur footages filmed with a cell phone camera. Jasna, obsessed with filming her life with her phone, brings with it a refreshing perspective for the audience. More importantly, film editor Steven Filipovic successfully cuts together high resolution scenes shot by standard camera and blurry cell phone footages – a rather experimental undertaking. The lineup of the film’s young actors also deserves high praise, as they talk and behave naturally and stay true to their roles. Simijonovic especially shows great potential with her relentless efforts in some of the film’s most controversial scenes.
In addition, Milos displays great talent in writing and directing in her debut. She shows a different side of a female director by pushing the envelope, and I applaud her bravery in experimenting. Her approach to filmmaking should make her go far.
In "Clip," however, the increasingly graphic sex scenes and violence ultimately seem more a test of the boundaries between art and porn than a way for the audience to explore the characters' inner worlds. The film could do without much of them for better coherence and tighter structure.