Milica Tomović | Serbia | 2021 | 106 min | SERBIAN S.-T.EN.


A lovingly loose-lipped community acts out geopolitical strife and stumbles toward coping over the course of an eight-year-old girl’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed birthday party in the Belgrade suburb of Borča. The sprawling guest list is a melange of social classes and temperaments. Each looking for “some excitement.” Each desperate to be seen.

It’s 1993, and as Serbia’s wars in Croatia and Bosnia are being fought off-screen, they are felt figuratively and concretely at the party, which combines youthful angst and gamesmanship with adult drinking, drugging, and political discussion. The partygoers include everyone from a fiery-haired National Theatre actress to an anarcho-punk, three women in a love triangle to two men both hungry, simply, for a kiss. Writer-director Milica Tomovic is remarkably attuned to how a party’s dynamics shift in little movements. Communal chaos or elation one minute, individual introspection another, the partygoers flowing in and out of the tightly quartered rooms. Entire relationships conveyed in a sentence or look. Collective insanity captured in incisive moments and arcs.


Meet the filmmaker Milica Tomović, director of the feature CELTS (KELTI). A quick trip to her home, an interesting and insightful talk about her work, the why, the how and more.