Jasna (Isidora Simijonovic), a high school teenager lives with her parents and younger sister in an impoverished suburbs of Belgrade. Her father is terminally ill, but she doesn't seem to care about that. What does she care about then, you ask? Sex, drugs and filming herself with her cell phone camera. It would be a misnomer to call Djordje (Vukain Jasni) her friend with benefits because he doesn't treat her like a friend. To him, she's merely an object that he can use for sex and then beat her up or ignore her whenever he wants. She continues to have pursue him for sex regardless of how abusively he treats her.
Clip is by no means a shallow film nor is its protagonist, Jasna, presented in a shallow way, fortunately. She might not be particularly likable, but there's much more to her than meets the eye. You also get a few scenes that show the dynamics between her and her mother and father. It's doubtful that her mother is a good mother because, although she provides a roof over her head and whatever things she wants, she doesn't really sit down with Jasna to try to understand her or to reach out to her emotionally as a human being. Her lack of warmth at home isn't compensated for with her friends, so she channels her suppressed emotions through lots of drugs and meaningless sex.
Writer/director Maja Milos unflinchingly and boldly captures what it's like to be a teenager with all the pain, frustration and loneliness that comes with it. On the surface, Jasna appears to be confident, unafraid to take off her clothes and even engage in masochistic sex acts; deep down inside, she's an insecure, vulnerable and lonely young girl living in a very cold, alienating world. The film's use of nudity and explicit sex might seem shocking initially until you realize that it's just another normal part of Jasna's day. Please keep in mind that some of the camera work includes shaky cam when the footage is captured from Jasna's cell phone, so you might find yourself feeling a slightly nausious.
Milos wisely cast a teenage actress, Isidora Simikonovic, in the lead role thereby further enhancing the film's realism. Simikonovic delivers a raw, heartfelt performance with utter conviction. It probably took her a while to shake off the role physically because, during a few surprisingly tender scenes, she goes into emotionally devastating territory and even cries. That emotional complexity is what makes Clip more than your average teen drama.
Crazy & Thief
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Luciano (Aniello Arena) co-owns a fish stand with his business partner, Michele (Nando Paone), and has a separate business with his wife, Maria (Loredana Simioli), scamming customers into buying robots for their kitchen. When he has the chance to audition for the reality TV show "Big Brother" at the local mall, he takes that chance in hopes of gaining fame as a contestant, like his idol contestant on the show, Enzo (Raffaele Ferrante). He does everything in his ability to make sure that he'll win, even going as far as selling his furniture and lying about his real job during the audition. A callback soon arrives asking him to attend yet another audition, this time in Cinecittà Studios in Rome, which leads him further down a path of illusion. He's now convinced that he'll definitely become a contestant even though, in reality, his chances are slim to none.
Director/co-writer Matteo Garrone sets Reality's playful, satirical tone from the very first scene that won't be spoiled here. From the get-go, you're under the impression that there's something psychologically wrong with Luciano. He's an adult, but he's quite naive because of how far he goes with his obsession with getting onto the "Big Brother" reality show. First-time actor Aniello Arena impresses with a complex performance that tackle a wide range of emotions. It also helps that he has a very interesting, expressive face and charisma to boot. If there were an American remake, no American actor would fit the role as effectively.
Garrone blends the real with the surreal quite deftly. Luciano's wife represents the audience's perspective because she's the only one who understands that Luciano is crazy for believing that he'll become a contestant. The more Luciano gets caught up in the whirlpool of illusion, the more you'll feel sorry for him and, in some cases, even laugh at the outrageousness of his naïveté. Fortunately, when Garrone contrasts the easily-manipulated, sheepish public's obsession of becoming famous on TV with the public's religious fervor, he does so without hitting you over the head. He should also be commended for very thought-provoking and stylish cinematography. Everything from the colors to the lighting and set designs make for an enriching aesthetic experience that become metaphors, so, therefore, the film's style also provides substance. It's quite refreshing to come across such a bold and provocative satire.