SELECTION OF PRE-ELECTION VIDEOS BY CROATIAN POLITICAL PARTIES
Thursday, October 25, &TD Cinema, 23:00
All to the (Film) Elections!
‘You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people
all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.’
Abraham Lincoln, lawyer and US President (assassinated in a theatre)
The definition of the elections is as old as the history of democracy. The elections represent a process in which the people, meaning the citizens, elect public administration. In Slav languages, as in politics, the original meaning of the terms shifted towards ’ruling’ and ’power’, the opposites of the origin of democratic ideas. It was V. I. Lenin who, long ago, recognized the deadly impact of the seventh art, proclaiming it of greatest importance for ’us’ (Communists). Therefore it’s a small wonder that fi lms and elections forged an interesting and complex relationship throughout the 20th century, of perfect partners and sworn enemies.
This program of Zagreb Film Festival is one possible interpretation, a historic vertical or a possible matrix for fi nding a way out of the labyrinth. That is, apart from the fact that the festival coincides with the current elections in the Republic of Croatia, so the program appears not only logical and up-to-date, but presents a discourse of a kind about festivals not being escapist oases merely, but in active dialogue with contemporary times and designated locations. What, then, this program of which, behold, I am the selector, has to off er? As any other choice except for Sophie’s choice, it represents more than a dilemma, it is a final collection of the possible and the desired at a given time and within a given space, just like elections themselves. Because at first there was mostly John Ford, traditionalist with a distinct democratic feeling who eventually didn’t make it to the festival electoral quota. A modest number of titles still reveal an enormous richness of genre, covering the period of six decades, from 1946 to 2005. ’To the Election Polls’ (1946), film by Milan Katić, brings back times of the ‘blind box’, when one opted for the single available option or, in terms of mathematics, one had no choice.
Somewhat later in his carrier and life Katić would get picked out to be wiped out, that is to leave the scene for good after the political ballet ’The Secret of IB Castle’, when people voted ‘NO’ for Stalin. Since he who says any diff erent, is a defamatory liar ... or whatever the title of that huge pop(ulist) hit ran. Only a decade later, ’Two Miles per Hour’ (1956) drops the election ball to into the comedy fi led. Even Michael Moore would learn from watching ’A Private Decision’ (1968) that
history needs to be kissed goodbye. ’The Best Man’ (1964) is Schaffner’s perfect example of Hollywood exploitation of politics, while ’Elections’ (2005) by Johnny To is a brilliant record, racist action movie about a truly democratic practice of an utterly non-democratic organization such as the Hong Kong Triad, known as the Mob of the Far East. Croatia 2000 – (Who Wants to be a President)’ and ‘Insane People’ are reflected in one another, to use poetic discourse. See you at next elections. And finally, as result of hard work of Daniel Rafaelić and his team, we have mixed a cocktail of video clips directed for Croatian elections, the majority bearing signature of renowned filmmakers.
This puzzle, a film sudoku, where whichever direction you choose to add numbers you end up getting the same sum, makes you realize that, fi lm or no fi lm, whenever we think we’re choosing we are usually left without a choice. Still, it is always a good choice, especially in this era of digital magic and primary accumulation of Cineplex, to choose to attend our unique Elections program screenings at Zagreb Film Festival. As politicians teach us, every vote counts and so does yours, even if you don’t show up. So we’ll see you there, right? Or in the words of good old Abe Lincoln: ‘You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.’ He was assassinated while watching a theatre show. John Ford made a wonderful fi lm about him, ‘Young Mr. Lincoln’, but he also made a touching movie about
his assassin, actor John Powers Booth, ’The Prisoner of the Shark Island’, thus promoting the essential principle of democracy: it doesn’t really exist unless you have a choice of at least two options. ‘Dia’ stands for ‘two’ in Greek, as in dialogue.
Dinko Tucaković, Elections Program Selector