Director Milica Tomović / 2021 / Serbia

This complex, evocative period piece about human disconnection invites you to a party in 1990s Belgrade – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume optional.

Over one day in Belgrade, 1993, eight-year-old Minja looks forward to her Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles–themed birthday party, while her mother, father and grandmother hurry through their festive preparations. As the event unfolds, the kids bicker and play, while the grown-ups get drunk, stoned and messy out the back. The political tensions of a Yugoslavia in collapse seep into the personal angst of the characters – from anarchist punks and repressed LGBTQIA+ people to optimists clinging to hope – all of whom find themselves seizing a moment soon to be lost.

Melancholic yet nostalgic, Milica Tomović’s debut feature is deceptively simple. By juxtaposing the children’s and adults’ worlds, she creates not just a satisfyingly complex character study – enabled by Tomović and Tanja Sljivar’s sharply perceptive writing and polished performances from the ensemble cast – but a shrewd social microcosm. Celts is richly grounded in the everyday textures of a bygone era, but suggests some discontents remain unchanged.

“A whirlwind of conflicts, romances, resentments and envy, but also of genuine human connection, even generosity.” – Cineuropa

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