Judge Daryl Loomis has a phone full of videos of sleeping cats.
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Some people in every generation will bemoan the loose morals of the generation that comes after theirs, but in truth, all of them are wrong. Every group of teenagers has their own problems, none significantly more awful or disgusting than the last. This current generation of kids has something going against it that helps their elders prove the statement: technology. While I can state with almost complete certainty that, had had everyone I knew had video cameras in their pockets, some really gross stuff would have been recorded, but they didn't. This generation does and, not only that, they have online platforms where they can post their work and compare notes, so to speak. It doesn't make the judgment right on any level; it just makes the accusation verifiable. To show this strange new world, first time Serbian director Maja Milos employed young and inexperienced actors to create Clip, an explicit and often sad look at modern teenage life.
Facts of the Case
Jasna (Isidora Simijonovic) is a 14-year-old girl growing up in the depressed Belgrade suburbs. Her father is terminally ill, her mother has become increasingly unstable, and she has lost the ability to relate to either of them. Her only solace is her social life, filled with drinking, drugs, and sex, which she films incessantly on a phone her uncle gave her. One day, Djordje (Vukasin Jasnic), the boy of her dreams, finally talks to her and she instantly attaches herself to him. Unfortunately, he takes advantage of Jasna's willingness to give Djordje anything he desires and she finds herself degraded and more detached than ever.
Those who go into this film expecting some kind of prurient titillation will be sadly disappointed; Clip is not a pretty film to watch. It's cold and alienating, an almost emotionless tale of modern city youth. Those hoping for something decrying the activities of modern youth will walk away empty handed, as well. There is no judgment in this film. It's almost journalistic in style, becoming even more so with the POV camera shots that take up a large portion of the movie. Content aside, this is slice-of-life that is closer to the early work Wim Wenders than, say, Larry Clark.
The trouble is, taken under that light, Clip isn't a terribly exciting film in any way. It's certainly interesting, but a little plodding. Aside from Jasna and Djordje, none of the characters has much personality and nobody, including the leads, shows any growth whatsoever. I suppose that's part of the point, but it doesn't inspire a lot of thrills.
The main point of note in Clip is the performance by Isidora Simijonovic. She's absolutely fantastic as Jasna and, though it's probably not all that tough for a girl of her age to portray a disaffected teen, it's still utterly believable and compelling. The explicit scenes were thankfully shot with body doubles and carefully edited together, but it's rare that someone of this age is both allowed to portray this kind of character and, more than that, to portray her with such conviction. She is definitely somebody to watch and is the biggest reason to watch the film.
I'm not the content police, but I completely understand those easily offended will be horrified by the film's explicit content. As it goes, Clip is hardly shocking to me, though my eyes are far from everyone's. Those who have a hard time wrapping their heads around teenagers having sex, drinking gin, and snorting coke should do themselves a favor and steer clear. People with more tolerance for such concepts and activities will find Clip to be an interesting portrayal of modern teenagers that feels more universal than the specific Serbian setting. It probably won't make any viewers feel very good about themselves, but it's a solid film nonetheless.
Artsploitation delivers a decent DVD for Clip, one that is fairly typical for a label that is more concerned with the release of interesting international films than it is with technical prowess or special features. The 2.10:1 anamorphic transfer isn't terrible, but it is problematic. The overall image lacks detail and, while colors are fairly strong, there is a fair bit of digital noise, especially around people's hair. The cameraphone footage is obviously worse, but is a fair representation of what that camerawork looks like. The surround sound track fares far better, with music that is booming in the low end and solid sounding dialog. There may not be as much action in the rear channels as there could be, but it's more than acceptable. Aside from a trailer and some booklet text, the only extra is a twenty minute interview with Milos, who discusses a number of aspects of the process of filming a movie such as this. It's interesting enough, but not essential.
There will certainly be people who are immediately repulsed by the explicit content of Clip. Looking past the surface, though, the film represents a fairly universal story of disaffected youth and how they express themselves. There will be those who say that stuff like this doesn't happen and there will be some who claim that this kind of action proves the decline of civilization, but both of them are wrong. Clip is a realistic portrayal that shows attitudes that are not only common across the globe today, but will pass on to another generation. Just wait, twenty years from now, these same teens will claim the same thing their parents say about them today. Between that and the fantastic, difficult performances from the lead actors, Clip may be imperfect, but it's definitely something to watch.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Artsploitation Films
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