Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Inferno [2014]

MPAA (UR would be R)  Fr. Dennis (1 Star)

IMDb listing

Mladina.si (M. Štefančič) review*
Pogledi.si (M. Crnkovič) review*

Inferno [2014] (written and directed by Vinko Möderndorfer [en.wikip] [IMDb]) is an unabashedly neo-Communist Slovenian film that played recently at the 2015 - 18th Chicago European Union Film Festival held at the Gene Siskel Film Center here in Chicago. The film may-or-may not reflect contemporary Slovenian realities but by invoking, appropriating and attempting to turn-on-their-heads iconic the anti-Communist protests of Poland's wildly popular Solidarity movement (within months of its founding, something like 10 million Poles, or 1/2 of Poland's adult population were members of Solidarity) and even more gallingly, the self-immolation of venerated Czech martyr Jan Palach in protest to the 1968 Soviet led invasion his country / MY PARENTS' COUNTRY ... and argues that all these protesters / MARTYRS "had it all wrong" and the Communists were actually the "good guys."

No thank you ... that story ended when the tanks rolled into Prague to crush its attempt to build "Socialism with a Human Face."  And look, as a Catholic, IN THIS REGARD CERTAINLY OF THE JOHN PAUL II STRIPE, even today Swedish (or even French) social democracy WILL ALWAYS BE FAR MORE ATTRACTIVE than either Savage Capitalism or Tito, Stalin, Brezhnev or Putin's own Restorationist Russia.

Yet to the film-maker here, as was typical of old-style Communist polemics, a "middle way" is not an option.  It's EITHER a Dickensonian (in this case a Dantean) horror or Tito / Stalin.  So ...

... Marko (played by Marco Bukvič) a factory worker in some Slovenian industrial town finally loses his cool and gets into an altercation with his boss named Drágan (played by Valter Drágan) breaking Drágan's arm.  Well, needless to say, Marko loses his job (this would happen anywhere in the world, even in the Paradises of Soviet or Yugoslav Communism).  YET ... and this MAY reflect Slovenian contemporary reality, though if it does, then it would make Slovenia operate under a system of rules that would more reflect realities of the Third World THAN OF THE EUROPEAN UNION OF WHICH IT IS A MEMBER ... since it was Marko's fault that he lost his job, he was ineligible for ANY SOCIAL ASSISTANCE.

I simply find that UNBELIEVABLE in the context of Europe and especially the European Union today.  Yet, EVEN IF IT WAS TRUE ... this is NOT CAUSE to IMMEDIATELY PULL OUT THE RED BANNERS and start singing "THE INTERNATIONALE" again ... it's cause to petition Brussels and again "the Swedes" to say ... "THIS IS EUROPE, TODAY (!).  WE DON'T DUMP PEOPLE, ENTIRE FAMILIES, OUT ONTO THE STREET WITH NO RECOURSE ANYMORE.  Heck that MAY still happen in the such "bastions of freedom and responsibility" such as the right wing states of Texas, Kentucky and Alabama in the United States.  BUT EUROPE (!), TODAY (!!).  NO!"

But the director argues that his is an accurate portrayal of Slovenian life TODAY ... and the rest of the horror movie follows:

Marco's family gets evicted from their cold, humble concrete dwelling (already without heat or power) in which they live.  Marco's wife (played by Madea Novák) SETS HERSELF ON FIRE in desperation / protest, with the 5 Euros worth of gasoline that she bought after prostituting herself to a patron in a nearby bar.  Their two cute as a button kids are THROWN OUT OF THE CATHOLIC SCHOOL THAT THEY ATTENDED (apparently there are no public ones ...) FOR NOT BEING ABLE TO PAY and eventually taken from their widowed father because he had no place left to keep them.

Yes, this would be Hell.  But is this reality in Slovenia today?  PERHAPS it is, I honestly would not know, but I would doubt it.   AND EVEN IF IT IS, IS THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE THEN A RESTORATION OF TITO / STALIN??

I don't think so.  Again, just ask the Swedes ...

And I would add one last thing: I think that it is UTTERLY COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE for COMMUNISTS to STUPIDLY TO PUT DOWN THE CHURCH (as is done SEVERAL TIMES IN THIS FILM).  Even PUTIN has learned that.  The default position of the Church is to care.  By STUPIDLY PUTTING US DOWN ... you remove AN OBVIOUS ALLY to fight the injustices that you say that you see. 

* Reasonably good (sense) translations of non-English webpages can be found by viewing them through Google's Chrome browser. 

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