The Picture of the Younger Generation

in 8th Split International Festival of New Film

by Viliam Jablonický

Young people visit cinemas most frequently. Probably they have a deeper relationship to all modern media too, but I am not sure if they are really interested in seeing themselves in a deformed mirror. At least, most of them.

There is an alternative picture to Hollywood movies and commercial tv series, being realistic portraits of the younger generation in different countries made mostly by young filmmakers. That is pluralistic and very different from classical cliché and the famous method of self-reflection in film art. It was seen clearly in parallel programmes of The International Festival of new Film in Split, 2003, Croatia, section Focus, Forum (and Image).

Among many new directors can be found Dyga Zsombor (born 1975). His latest film “Teso” (Bro’, Hungary 2003) deals with the dreams of one hero. The story is about two brothers between twenty and thirty from which the older is “a sex maniac porn writer, who is running from hole to hole”, a successful conqueror of hearts, a variation of Don Juan or Casanova. Opposite him is his younger brother, a more interesting figure – “a freak with the mentality of a teenager”. Maybe his character is not really far from a teenager; he is a fanatic of music, pop culture, literature and film like his brother. The problem is the relationship to the adult world, girls, social relations in an anonymous suburb. Behind the rock ‘n’ roll, deprivation and determination of the brothers’ lives, he has to find his own identity. With intelligence, humor and knowlege he could prepare a parallel (alternative) and polemical world inspired the classic movie “Casablanca”.

The Slovenian “Slijepa tocka” (Blind spot, 2002) director Hanna A.W. Slak (1975) shows a tragic world of losers which is connected with drugs. The sight of toxic people is nothing new in fiction (film), but the director found in the narration a very strong character; the young girl who would like to help her ill boyfriend, something that is practicallly inpossible. She doesn’t know the price of her freedom. The effort to help a brutal and cynical man is above everything. There is no drop of hope and sentimental love. Her desire is the destruction of the world of dealers, thieves and prostitutes. In this behavorial study, the director uses psychological symbols throughout in dreams and imaginings.

The Losers are middle-aged people ground down by the socio-economic crisis in former communist countries and the ideals of the younger generation. Opposite their world of hope, friendship, the value of life is the world of power, money from the criminal underworld, destruction in “Edi” (Eddie), 2002, the Polish fiction debut of director Piotr Trzalskaski.

In the documentary film “Bruno S. –Die Fremde ist der Tod” (Bruno S. – Enstangement is dead, Germany 2002), the director Miron Zownir focuses on an outsider who had probably fifteen minutes of fame in his youth. The former actor of “Kaspar Hauser” and “Stroszek” lives today forgotten, alone and isolated with his art like a mythical figure. An unwanted child predestined only for psychiatric, mental institutions, and orphanges, he is a naive but clever man living now without public attention. All the questions to which he has answers are very important for every generation. He is not concerned about a vision of youth and death, but more about personal freeedom, a reflection about the past and present of his country, social inequality, paradoxes of humanity in one world. His truths are unwanted just was unwanted as a simple-minded child.

Naturally there were more films with the motif of youth. From documentaries I would like to mention “Jenin, Jenin” /director Mohammad Bakri, Israel, Palestina, 2002/ which is about the absolute destruction of a Palestinian camp and village by the Israeli army´s Wall operation in April 2002. One of the main Palestinian speakers and victims is a twelve- year-old girl: “That is not life…” She promises that tragic and endless conflict will continue. On the question: “Where is your father?” another child answered “in heaven”. Third, but not least, a hurt and shocked child is running between ruins and demolished houses searching for his probably dead mother.

The same question from the opposite point of view is raised in “Attack of the happy People – Ectasy” /Nadar Harel, Israel 2003/. Many people from the young Israeli generation are living between “reality and hallucination”. Reaction to the war is not only religious fundamentalism but “a pill of happiness” the most used recreational drug today – ectasy. The new sub-culture of escapism from reality is connected with toxiculture, sex and music. Waiting for the great catastrophe, they would like to forget the war “for one hundred years”. For them the world is only chaos a madhouse. There exists only one alternative – with drugs – to be a different “lucky” person.

In both films there is no deeper analysis of where the causes of this regional catastrophe are.