When considering the human cost of war, most of the emphasis is normally placed on those soldiers fighting in, or civilians directly affected by, them. Whilst these impacts might be much more evident and easier to quantify, conflict takes a toll in many less obvious ways. During the Yugoslav Wars, for instance, even those geographically removed from the fighting had to suffer the financial and psychological turmoil. These struggles provide the backdrop to Celts.
Belgrade is under sanctions. With food scarce and prices going through the roof due to spiralling inflation, a group of friends and family come together to celebrate young Minja’s (Katarina Dimic) birthday. The party is held in her parents’ (Dubravka Kovjanić and Stefan Trifunović) home and has a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme. While the children are fairly well-behaved, the same can’t be said for the adults.
Celts is a lively and intelligent drama which encompasses the social and political turmoil of Serbia in the early 1990s through the eyes of a detached mother. While she provides the fulcrum for director Milica Tomovic’s film, it also feels like her childhood experiences are channelled through the character of Minja. Depicting a generation born into a chaotic and confusing world. There’s an energy to Celts which makes it an immersive and compelling watch. An experience which is augmented by some great acting performances and deft directorial touches.
Celts is released on VOD in the UK on 29 November. It can also be viewed via Cambridge Film Festival.