Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Watch: First Teaser Trailer For 'Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation' With Tom Cruise Arrives, If You Choose To Accept It Watch: First Teaser Trailer For 'Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation' With Tom Cruise Arrives, If You Choose To Accept It Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

AFI Fest Review: Audacious 'Clip' Winds Up Overwhelmed By Its Own Despair

The Playlist By Nikola Grozdanovic | The Playlist November 6, 2012 at 1:57PM

Maja Miloš’s debut feature film “Clip” continues to tour the festival circuit, including stopovers at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Buenos Aires International Fesitval of Independent Cinema, Montreal’s Festival Du Nouveau Cinema and, most recently, in AFI’s “New Auteurs” selection. With its exposure overshadowed by the bigger international players, it still managed to impress the Dutch so much in Rotterdam that they bestowed upon it the KNF Award, “given to the best feature film in the official section that is yet to find distribution within the Netherlands.” And while all the signs pointed to a quality picture, audiences tolerance for the picture may depend on how much despair they can handle in one sitting.
0
Clip

Maja Miloš’s debut feature film “Clip” continues to tour the festival circuit, including stopovers at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Buenos Aires International Fesitval of Independent Cinema, Montreal’s Festival Du Nouveau Cinema and, most recently, in AFI’s “New Auteurs” selection. With its exposure overshadowed by the bigger international players, it still managed to impress the Dutch so much in Rotterdam that they bestowed upon it the KNF Award, “given to the best feature film in the official section that is yet to find distribution within the Netherlands.” And while all the signs pointed to a quality picture, audiences tolerance for the picture may depend on how much despair they can handle in one sitting.

Clip

You’d be hard pressed to find a more curt title for a film this year, and after watching how it treats its subject matter it all starts to make sense. The story centers around high-schooler Jelena played by Isidora Simijonović, who breathes life into a wilting flower of a character and ends up being the film’s highlight. Jelena lives in a disheveled home and does everything in her power to stay locked up in her room, chatting on Facebook with her girlfriends, modeling on her own mobile phone, or using the ol’ “need to do homework” routine to get trashed at her friends’ place before a night of debauchery. The crush of her life, Djole (Vukašin Jaksić, doing an easy job of making you want to slap him in the face every time he comes on screen) leads a little gang of weed-smoking delinquents. The narrative blurs out into a soft-core porn, docu-style depiction of the lives of these post-war generation teenagers who are so lost and misguided that they end up being little more than ticking time bombs, waiting to OD on coke in the gutter or on some random dude’s couch.

The audacity to depict with such a stark eye a specific kind of miserable lifestyle that -- if we are giving the benefit of the doubt to Miloš -- plagues Serbian youth culture in modern day Belgrade is what no doubt got the film its KNF Award. Next to Simijonović’ brazen performance, the smaller standout factor is the methodology behind the approach: cellphone cameras and Facebook almost act as second unit cameras to portray an uncomfortably voyeuristic perspective on a generation spiraling towards the inescapable abyss of apathy. Intimate and private moments that a decade or so ago could barely be spoken about over the phone with your best friend are now recorded on iPhones without purpose or care and there is something pitifully hollow about that fact. For a director to not shy away from representing the truth as she sees it, no matter how crude, volatile and private it is, takes pretty sizeable balls and she deserves to have her film circled in festivals for that alone.

Clip

But there is a limit to this kind of madness, and in this writer’s opinion, the limit is crossed, ripped open, crossed again and then ploughed over for good measure. The film’s main issue is that the negativity and misery, which pervades the whole story, ends up drowning it, and the viewer is left completely and utterly depleted. And not with the kind of thought-provoking devastation that quality bleak films can leave you with (“Elephant” or “Requiem for a Dream” for example), but with the kind that leaves you scratching your head for a semblance of a message and asking yourself, “Can it seriously be THAT bad?” The characters, including Jelena, have so few redeeming qualities that you become suspicious of a certain kind of forced exaggeration to make a point. Once that indulgence is felt, whether you first notice it in the characters, the setting, the shots or the story, it begins to seep through the pores of every frame, playing the dual role of captain and iceberg to this sinking ship of a feature.

In an odd way, the lyrics of Fischerspooner’s “Just Let Go” come to mind when thinking about “Clip”. “Robbed of ration/Instinct gives rise. Robbed of ration/Audacious and precise. The body lunges forward/Defeating time” The film is deprived of all kind of rationale, giving itself away to a primal and instinctive kind of nature that is glimpsed in the performances and some shots. But not only does it defeat your time, it manages to beat your sensibilities senseless. The Dutch were not wrong in awarding it for its bravery, but the old maxim of whether the glass is half full or empty takes on a whole new meaning with “Clip” because the glass is shattered into pieces too small for reconstruction. [C-]

This article is related to: AFI Fest, Review


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates