Starring Isidora Simijonovic, Vukašin Jasnic, Sanja Mikitišin, Jovo Makisc and Monja Savic
Written and Directed by Maja Milos
Jasna (Simijonovic) is a teenage girl living in the poor suburbs in the south of Belgrade, Serbia. She, like many girls her age, likes to record everything around her using a mobile phone camera. She is making videos of herself, her school friends, family and Djole (Jasnic), the boy of her dreams. Her family life is a mess, her father is terminally ill and mother is barely coping. Jasna cannot figure out how to cope with this and it leads her further down the wrong path, leading to more and more time hanging out with her school friends, partying and drinking. At one of the parties, she finally starts a conversation with Djole and later they develop an intense sexual relationship. When he realizes that she will do anything to be close to him, Djole starts using her as a sexual object. Jasna starts experimenting heavily with drugs and her life starts spinning out of control and who knows if she’ll ever find a way out.
Director Milos pulls no punches in her portrayal of entitled children who bury themselves in drugs and alcohol without any thought of consequence from their actions. Simijonovic does a decent job in her acting debut, in fact most of the cast was on their first film set and sadly it shows. The plot meanders and the story of the family is simply there to try and explain Jasna actions, but is never elevated enough to have an impact on the story for the viewer. In fact the story is dropped for periods at a time and is never brought to a conclusion. Jasnic’s performance as Djole works more than it doesn’t, but also shows all the earmarks of an inexperienced actor. Milos shows she has done a lot of research and has a good eye for staging and a steady hand behind the camera, she is someone to keep an eye on, but the uneven results leave the film wanting. Clip is a mild non-recommend.
Picture Day (2012)
Starring Tatiana Maslany, Spencer Van Wyck, Steven McCarthy, Susan Coyne, Fiona Highet and Mark DeBonis
Written and Directed by Kate Melville
Claire Paxton (Maslany) is a teenage girl who is forced to repeat her last year of high school due to bad grades and absenteeism. Claire still prefers to cut class whenever feasible and spends her nights clubbing, living on the fringes of the adult world she’s almost part of. Two men enter Claire’s life and shake things up enough to confuse her idea of what she wants out of life. James (McCarthy), the singer in a popular Toronto faux-funk band, is intrigued enough by Claire that the reveal of her age does not sway his pursuit. Claire is also the enamored object of another’s affection, her former babysitting charge Henry (Van Wyck), a shy, geeky science whiz who keeps shoe boxes full of mementos, most of them relating to Claire. After a chance meeting and a shared blunt, Claire is determined to help Henry get noticed at school, hardly difficult since she’s already infamous.
Picture Day is a small intimate story that relies on the chemistry and like ability of its two main leads Maslany and Van Wyck. Maslany is our main focus overall, she’s in almost every scene, and proves that she’s more than capable of the pressure. She is fantastic in the role and has the audience falling for her character despite her sexually freewheeling ways and path to self-destruction. Van Wyck is charming enough to stay involved for the viewer and to follow his story, but this is Maslany’s film from the get go. Writer/Director Melville crafts a smart script with a real character as its lead. Maslany’s Claire is multi-layered and complex, with a tough exterior that has been hardened by disappointment, but a clear vulnerable center. The setting is excellent and the City of Toronto easily becomes another character in the film as Melville imbues it with personality and charm. Picture Day is a solid recommend.
Till Next Time,
Movie Junkie TO
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