Serbian Shocker Clip Arrives on DVD from Artsploitation Films

Clip Clip

Winner of the Best Feature Tiger Award at the 2012 Rotterdam Film Festival, Maja Milos’s Clip has stirred controversy on the festival circuit for its graphic and downbeat look at the sexual rebellion of a barely-teenage Serbian girl. The first feature of its young female director, and partially financed by the Serbian government, the film takes its title from its 14-year-old protagonist’s penchant for recording her drug-and-sex-fueled environments on her cell phone. Brandon Harris covered the 2012 International Film Festival Rotterdam for the Spring, 2012 edition of Filmmaker and below is his take on the movie. Clip is released on DVD and VOD today via Artsploitation Films.

Maja Milos’ unforgivingly grim and aesthetically potent debut feature depicts the life and times of a gorgeous but insecure Serbian teen, Jasna (played fearlessly by Isidora Simijonovic), who, despite her father’s terminal illness is estranged from her family. Beyond all reason, she pursues a boyfriend, who casually humiliates her in both physical and emotional ways. As Milos slowly reveals her world to us, it gradually dawns on us that we are glimpsing a woman living in a society in the grips of nihilistic ethical decay and petty, sexualized barbarism. The only thing that makes Jasna feel valuable is giving a blowjob.

Financed in part by the Serbian government, Clip uses a mix of traditional realist narrative lensing and the fragmentary, pixilated quality of throwaway YouTube moments to reveal a youth culture caught in the throes of desperate, ahistorical nationalism and petulant hyper-masculinity. Every relationship in Jasna’s life, which at first seems to be that of a rather banal Eastern European petit bourgeois, is compromised by generational dislocation, misogyny and petty cruelty. That Jasna’s circumstances seem utterly unremarkable to us by the film’s end is a credit to the frequently kinetic, at times scary authenticity with which Milos imbues each moment of the film, even when the degradations that Ms. Simijonovic is enduring, at her very delicate age (she was 16 when the film was made) seem to be verging on exploitation. Judge for yourself, but be warned, this is not for the faint of heart. — Brandon Harris