K I N O E Y E :
Hamlet in Wonderland:
Miklos Jancso's Nekem lampast adott kezembe az Ur Pesten
Hungarian master, Miklos Jancso, has kick-started his beleaguered career with a controversial and demanding masterpiece which will be shown this week at the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary. Kinoeye examines Jancso's blackly humorous film in the context of his long and glorious career.
Andrew J Horton
K I N O E Y E:
Misty Melancholy with a Bovine
Sisyphus: Karel Kachyna's Krava
Also showing at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival this week will be Krava (The Cow, 1993) as a tribute to veteran Czech director Karel Kachyna. Kinoeye examines the film in the context of another work set deep in the Czech forests, Ivan Vojnar's Cesta pustym lesem (The Way through the Bleak Woods, 1997).
Andrew J Horton
Dear readers, if this issue is delayed, blame saints Cyril and Methodius, as well as good old Jan Hus, all of whom have holidays named after them on 5 and 6 July in the Czech Republic, where our ISP is located. Oh well, this is the post-Communist world, after all, where two days late means one week ahead of schedule. What we missed in punctuality, we will more than make up for in quality.
In addition to our regular features, this second issue of Central Europe Review contains two articles which focus on the same theme: minority policy in Central and Eastern Europe.
What interests me most about these two articles is how in both Romania and Slovakia, governments seem to be enacting modern, progressive legislation on minority issues; however, they are doing so not under public pressure from the electorate, but under international pressure from the likes of Brussels and Washington.
Official good will and tolerance enshrined in law are absolutely necessary for a functioning democracy, but the Romanian and Slovak cases beg at least three important questions:
What does it say about the state of democracy in these post-totalitarian countries when the government heeds the voice of Brussels over the voice of its own people?
Is there not a danger that, with the basic legal framework in place, these societies will see their drive for ethnic tolerance as completed and not engage in the more meaningful, day-to-day efforts of ethnic tolerance that societies need if real harmony is to be attained?
Finally, is there not a great risk of backlash? When a government moves in a direction that the people are not prepared to go, what is the usual result? Would it be such a surprise to see nationalist movements gain in strength and legitimacy on the undercurrent of public opinion? Have the governments of Romania and Slovakia simply given the extremists a handy card to play?
The governments in Bratislava and Bucharest may have convinced Brussels they are doing the right thing. Now, they must convince their own citizens.
Andrew Stroehlein, Editor-in-Chief, 5 July 1999
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