‘I like the silent moments. It has interesting character development.’
‘I would strongly recommend this film for the archive as an educational piece to fight against racism and violence.’
The circumstances behind the production and reception of Bence Fliegauf’s feature film Csak a szél / Just the Wind reflect the post-socialist cultural, social and political life in Central and Eastern Europe, just as its topic is based on an actual series of racist attacks against Roma people which killed six people (among them a four-year-old child) and injured several others in 2008/2009. According to the director, the frustration caused by these events (and parallel political developments such as the launch of the radical right-wing paramilitary organisation, Hungarian Guard) made him produce a film with a related topic.
After a long research phase undertaking participatory observation of Roma communities living in poor socio-economic conditions, he worked out a plot centring on a young boy and his family who are threatened by the danger of racist attacks. The filmmakers use a powerful atmosphere to create visual and narrative devices while telling a story about anxiety. They also realistically map the actual hierarchy in Hungarian rural society which is determined by social status and in many cases ethnic conflicts, as well as everyday oppression. With non-professional actors playing the leading roles, we gain a nuanced insight into the social problems and struggles of Romani people in the country. Many situations reflect the empathetic and yet distant gazes of the engaged filmmakers: the camera work in particular functions as a tool to aid the viewer’s identification with the anxiety of the protagonists.
The ‘hot’ reception of the film shows that Hungarian society of that time had difficulties dealing not just with the past but with the present, too. The series of attacks against the Roma was also explored in theatre plays, photo and art installations, but none of them had an audience response as broad as Just the Wind.
The film is highly recommended as educational material.
62nd International Filmfestival, Berlinale, 2012, Jury Grand Prix – Silver Bear https://www.berlinale.de/en/archiv/jahresarchive/2012/02_programm_2012/02_Filmdatenblatt_2012_20123683.php#tab=filmStills
Strausz, László: ‘Producing Prejudice’, Romani Studies 5, vol. 24, no. 1 (2014), pp. 1–24
Berkovits, Balázs and Jónás, Marianna: ‘Azért nem csak a szél…’ http://beszelo.c3.hu/onlinecikk/azert-nem-csak-a-szel-%E2%80%93-fliegauf-bence-filmjerol (accessed 6 June 2017)