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Home Guards (Hungary)

The best motion pictures always reflect the times people live in. And our times are pretty troubled ones. We see the rapid growth of nationalism, xenophobia and radicalism all over the world. Even in developed democracies this trend is obvious. Unfortunately the Eastern European countries like Poland or Hungary, which were the part of Soviet Block and now are the members of NATO and European Union, are no exception.The Hungarian film Home Guards catches this disturbing Zeitgeist very powerfully. A small provincial town in Hungary becomes a metaphor for the country, and in a wider sense, for the whole world at large in its today’s sorry state.  At the center of the drama are two brothers – Máté and Joci – who live in a God forsaken Hungarian town, where law and order do not exist. They are recruited by a new young and energetic chief of police to join the young volunteers group “Home Guards” with the supposed goal of helping the police to prevent and fight crime. In the beginning the brothers are thrilled. For the very first time in their bleak lives, they feel that they belong to something meaningful. But slowly but surely situation gets out of control. The Guards shave their heads (skinheads anyone?) and become a force not to serve good cause but the exact opposite. Ultimately Máté ends uo refusing to assist in a coverup of a hate crime and falls afoul of the Guards. His own brother takes the group’s side against him.Krisztina Goda, the director of the film says: ”Home Guards is a drama about radicalization of youth. I believe that we have made a movie about a topic that is sadly very relevant now all over the world.” She adds that although she could easily have made a documentary on the topic, she preferred it to be a fiction film. She says: “The film is a study of manipulation, rather than just racism”.