Put the money on the counter. Pick up the correct change. Be honest!, it says on a piece of cardboard at the counter. There are ways of avoiding work even if you are a cashier. Dante Hicks knows the score. If you believe that running a convenience store is a dull and uneventful job, you will have to reconsider after watching the American indie-film Clerks. When Dante falls out of the closet where he spent the night, he has no idea of what kind of a day he has ahead of him. He may be used to customers whose hands get stuck in Pringle crisp-tins, who want to borrow a porn-mag for the visit to the lavatory or tear open the egg-boxes in search of the perfect egg. However, this day at least two dozen similar events take place and make Dante's life seem purgatorial. Luckily his friend Randal works in the video-shop next door, and together they spend their days making up Beavis & Butthead-type jokes. A boss of any kind is nowhere to be seen, which makes it possible to close the shop for a couple of hours in order to play rollerblade-hockey on the roof with the guys. Dante and Randal personify the Generation X syndrome, two relatively well-educated young men stuck in McJobs which they hate.The young director Kevin Smith knows what he is talking about, he spent four years working at the Quick Stop store where the film is set, and a lot of the nutcases who pass by in the film are taken from real life. The couple who own the store had nothing against Kevin shooting there, as long as it was after closing time at 10.30 pm. Since he had to work in the daytime as well as open up the shop at 6 am, there was not much time for sleep during the 21 days of the shoot.How Kevin Smith found the $27.000 for the minimal budget is a story in itself. He pawned his collection of cartoons for $3.000. He dropped out of school and was able to get some of the school fees back, money that went straight to the Clerks project. Still, that was not enough. At that point his home town was flooded, his car drowned and the state covered his losses. Which Hollywood PR man could find a better way for an independent filmmaker to finance his film?With its black-and-white photography, its grungy soundtrack and its amateur actors, Clerks is a funny little gem for all of you who loved Richard Linklater's Slacker or Hal Hartley's Trust. -- WILHELM LAGERCRANTZ

Title
Clerks
Director
Kevin Smith
Country
USA
Length
90 min
Festival
1994
Section
Competition
Language
English
Production year
1994
Cast
Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson
Producer
Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier
Script
Kevin Smith
Music
Scott Angley

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