The Celts

The Celts

Directed by Milica Tomovic

  • Serbia;

  • TRANSITION previous work of director Milica Tomovic, available for screening on Festival Scope


Winter, 1993. Bill Clinton is elected president. Audrey Hepburn dies. Wars following the breakup of socialist Yugoslavia are continued in Croatia and Bosnia. Belgrade is under sanctions and inflations that threaten to become hyperinflations. Mother (38) wakes up on a day when she has to do all the preparation for her younger daughter’s birthday party – cooking awaits her, guests await her, and dirty dishes await her, when the night is over. After a full year of not having sex with her husband, Mother introduced masturbation in her everyday routine. On that day Mother fails to reach an orgasm. On that day Tamara (14), the older sister, gets her period and gets an order to craft a costume for her little sister. On that day Grandmother (68) finds out her friend has died and also finds out she has to use walnuts to make an almond cake for her granddaughter. On that day Father (35), the taxi driver doesn’t charge the ride and lies to his youngest, she’ll get a puppy for her birthday. On that day Minja (8), birthday girl, can’t wait to get home and put on a Raphael costume (the red Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle) to welcome her schoolmates. She invited everyone, even the Princess, who stuck a gum in her best friend’s hair. Mother tries to be polite while she welcomes Minja’s friends and gets criticized by parents for organizing a costume party. Mother tries to seem excited when the guests start to arrive: Uncle and his boyfriend, Father’s colleague from an old firm – the drunk, Mother’s best friend Zaga with a new girlfriend, and just after two of them, Zaga’s ex-lover rings the doorbell, too. Mother expresses compassion for the problems of her friends – the two ex-lovers which becomes the main topic of the night. Mother tries not to notice that Father is flirting with a newly arrived guest – young actress. Mother feels invisible while she drowns in endless dramas and repeated conversations. Mother decides to leave the party and finally do something for herself. On the streets she gets a chance to reach an orgasm, to insult someone and to smoke a cigarette with a stranger. On the streets Mother also gets a chance to realize she’s inevitably part of a family in which: margarine is used instead of butter, walnut instead of almond, masturbation instead of sex and one declares as Celt instead of Yugoslav.

Director's Statement

THE CELTS is a family drama with the elements of comedy written with a desire to make a fun, crazy, nostalgic, emotional film that audience would wish never to end. It is a film about disappearance of one country and loss of one’s identity which are portrayed through three different generations within one family and their daily routine while preparing the birthday party for the youngest daughter. Idea was to simultaneously deal with my childhood and with my adult life, by trapping them inside one house and one day, and by giving an eight-yearold perspective on that period with an opportunity to grasp what my parents were going through, now that I’ve reached their years. The year 1993 in Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) marks the end of Dafiment bank – Ponzi scheme that was supported by president Slobodan Milošević, which finally led to hyperinflation. Milošević’s regime deeply damaged country’s bruto national product as well as life standard of all its citizens. Moreover, his regime was one of the main causes of wars in Bosnia and Croatia, which by then reached devastating points. Through the characters – family members, I want to represent a person’s developing path from childhood, through adolescence and till the adulthood. By doing so I will try to explore the ways in which these characters were shaped by their experiences. The question which interests me is if in some cases a certain experience can even have such an effect on one’s life, that from one point on everything goes irrevocably wrong. In the same way, I wish to explore the epoch, approaching it with a distance of the present moment and with a desire to comprehend where it all went irreversibly wrong with the country we were born in, Yugoslavia. At the same time, together with my characters, I am trying to question my identity, or to consider the possibility of obtaining a new one - as UNCLE did in film, which would imply giving up or negating the past completely. Nineties are used as a frame for an intimate family story, but also as a metaphor of our present time and inevitable repetitions – which are displayed in personal relationships, political contexts and events. This film should point out that what people of my parent’s generation witnessed and lived through in the nineties, has everything to do with what



    Vladimir Vasiljević