The naked truth
by Vladan Petković
06/07/2012 - Young Serbian writer-director Maja Miloš's first feature film Clip [trailer, film focus] made a splash on the festival circuit when it premiered in Rotterdam competition and won a Tiger. Early reviews and word-of-mouth suggested edgy fare with explicit sex scenes, and that certainly built a buzz around the film which went on to win more awards, including Best Actress for Isidora Simjonović at the Vilnius International Film Festival and Best Director for Miloš at the Transylvania International Film Festival in Cluj.
Jasna (Simjonović, who was 14 when the shooting started) is a high school student who lives with parents (Sanja Mikitišin, Jovo Maksić) and little sister in a dilapidated residential building in Belgrade suburbs. Jasna refuses to take any part in household chores and ignores her mother’ pleas for help with the probably terminally ill father. Jasna seems to be interested only in an endless stream of parties where she drinks excessively and takes drugs with her girlfriends to the sound of turbo-folk, a Balkan hybrid of techno and folk music. The girls dress over-sexually, in tight jeans or extremely short mini-skirts, with high heels, deep cleavages and heavy make-up. They take pictures of themselves in lascivious poses, wearing next to nothing, and post them on Facebook.
Jasna is in love with in Djole (Vukašin Jasnić), an older, aloof but violent boy from her school. Djole makes her act like his private porn star, masturbating onto her or taking her to the school toilet for a fellatio. Jasna would do anything for him, and often it is her who initiates these sexual escapades, which they always film with mobile phones.
Internet sex tapes of underage girls have been around for a long time now, and clearly this is what inspired Miloš. The omnipresent and easily accessible pornography goes hand in hand with celebrity and fashion culture, and strongly influences both boys’ and girls’ growing up.
This is a global problem, and by putting it into a local context, Miloš has managed to tell a universal story. The decision to mix mobile phone and digital camera footage, with appropriate jump-cuts and dynamic exchange between the two formats, by editor Stevan Filipović, gives the film a powerful hyper-realistic dimension. Clip is a direct and brutally honest film about real problems of real people.
And the real star of the film is the non-professional Isidora Simjonović who gives Jasna both body and soul. She is not playing herself, but clearly a kind of girl she knows well from her surrounding, insecure, frustrated and in search of love. Although socially aware, in its core Clip is a love story.
Sex scenes in the film are very explicit, but not gratuitious. Sex is the way Jasna and Djole communicate, and that is how we see their relationship evolve, similarly to what Patrice Chereau did in Intimacy. Also the influence of Larry Clark's Kids is unmistakeable but Miloš uses it to tell quite a different story in an equally effective manner.