A Comment About Violence

in 22nd Drama Short Film Festival

by Dimosthenis Xifilinos

Another Drama International Short Film Festival, the 22nd one, is over. From a variety of really good films, our FIPRESCI jury chose unanimously a Hungarian production, Before Lunch, as the best of the Competition. There was, though, also another film that clearly stood out: the Belarussian production The Same Blood, directed by Mitry Semenov-Aleinikov.

During its 15 minutes, the film manages to present us one of the more serious problems of our times. It is amazing to see how the screenwriter and director include violence in its plot. Violence exists almost everywhere around. The first shot is a pure demonstration of the violence used by the police special forces during a public protest. There is nothing made-up in their actions: the guys holding shields and truncheons enjoy beating the unarmed crowd. POLICE VIOLENCE!

A few minutes later, another type of violence appears in front of our eyes. One of the protesters attacks another, because he runs away without taking part as planned. He was supposed to throw a Molotov against the cops and he didn’t. So, he has to be punished by his comrades. That’s why he gets battered (with mercy), before returning home. We might even call it CIVIL VIOLENCE! Then the “tough” teenager comrade goes home. There is his brother with a completely different view of the world. He believes in living a peaceful family life, taking care only of his future wife and child, his brother and his mother. “?f you lie down with dogs, you get fleas” is an English proverb, suitable to his ideas. Don’t mess with “the System” and the Authorities is his moto. The younger guy can’t understand it, so the older one tries to impose on him. Using FAMILY VIOLENCE… of course!

Suddenly, the police arrive there. The policemen have no doubts about their duty. They must leave the place, having the young rebel in cuffs. “No” is not allowed. So, one of them doesn’t hesitate to knock the poor mother out of the way. Soon afterwards, the two brothers are arrested. The older brother stands up for his family, and the subsequent fight ends as expected; both brothers are thrown violently in a police van. Police violence again…

Here comes the final scene of the tragedy. The young guy beaten at the beginning because he behaved as a “coward” now has to overcome its fear and… is ready to throw a Molotov! The first police vehicle that passes by will feel his anger. ANARCHIC VIOLENCE!

The circle closes in a tragic way. BLIND VIOLENCE means pain, disaster, death. No matter where it comes from. Unfortunately, there is no way out…

Edited by Steven Yates