Vera & Donald Blinken Open Society Archives
Inside Look. Film Laborarory - Judgement in Hungary 1/4.
3-6 DECEMBER 2015
About civil rights movements in the United States and Roma rights movements in Hungary and Eastern Europe
VENUE: Blinken Open Society Archives at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary
CURATED BY Ellen Hume, Annenberg Fellow in Civic Media, CEU
Europe’s Roma communities face deepening challenges of discrimination, violence and poverty. The US. minority rights movement, which has had some notable successes over the past 50 years, also faces continuing problems, including police violence. We believe that a sharing of their struggles would be worthwhile as everyone searches for effective remedies. What were the elements that made the African-American civil rights movement successful? What are the effective models in Europe for Roma integration and opportunity? While there are very different histories and contexts for these minority groups, a sharing of their experiences, tactics, and wisdom could lead to new thinking and effective action in both regions.
In 2008 and 2009, a group of Hungarian right-wing extremists committed a series of attacks on random members of the Roma community. Six people were killed, including a five-year-old, and another five were injured. The trial of the four suspects lasted two-and-a-half years, and the verdict was passed in August 2013. Director Eszter Hajdú filmed the trial and condensed it to create an oppressive Kammerspielfilm starring the cold-blooded suspects, an irritable judge and the victims’ families. Without any commentary, Hajdú recorded the drawn-out and sometimes chaotic trial from the cramped courtroom’s public gallery. A small static camera shows the judge's point of view, while close-ups highlight the emotions of the people touched by the crime. Sometimes we see the protagonists outside the courtroom, for example during the reconstruction at the crime scene. At the start of the trial, the victims and next of kin assume there will be justice, and they have faith that the Hungarian authorities will protect them. But will the extremists be found guilty? The widespread anti-Roma sentiment in Hungarian society, and the bungling (intentional or otherwise) on the part of the police give them reason to fear they will not. (IDFA)
Eszter Hajdú / 2013 / Hungary / 107 min / Blu-ray / Hungarian with English subtitles
Introduced and analyzed by film director Eszter Hajdú