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The documentary When the War Comes is about Peter from Slovakia, who worries about the future of his country. He spends his free time leading a paramilitary movement that recruits Slovak teenagers. The film depicts in a very direct way the magnetic attraction of far-right nationalism on teenagers who feel ignored by politicians.
Peter Švrček comes from a middle-class family, has just finished his studies, and has a nice girlfriend. Despite all that, Peter is worried. He’s concerned about the future of Slovakia and the influx of immigrants. If there’s going to be a war, Peter wants to be prepared for it. So in his spare time he leads a paramilitary group with dozens of members. In their weekend training sessions, they wear fake uniforms and use dummy weapons, but they take their mission very seriously. The group gives lectures at high schools and helps out at folkloric events. Without passing judgement, director Jan Gebert observes the group’s rise in popularity.
These men are playing war games, but they’re no longer little kids. The group even wants to enter politics to protect what belongs to them and to keep Slovakia for the Slovaks. And as long as Peter and his helpers don’t break any laws, the government won’t intervene. The authorities turn a blind eye to their activities, despite the fact that their far-right leanings and fascist ideals are veiled in a paper-thin layer of decency.
We Are Public: Front Row
Peter and his ideals deserve more than aversion. That is why Katarína Gališinová, will introduce the film, at the invitation of We Are Public. Katarína is a socially engaged photographer and film aficionado, born in Slovakia. The film gave her goosebumps, and she is very happy to explain why prior to the film. About the conservative culture of Slovakia, but also it’s progressive developments. The artistic aspects of the film, as well as the ethical dilemmas of the director. The absence of a voice-over and judgement, as well as it’s complex implications.
Good to know
Director: Jan Gebert
Duration: 76 minutes
Subtitels: English subtitles
The open-air film starts after sundown, which is around 21:30. If it’s raining, the film will be screened indoors in the Genève hall. Drinks and snacks will be available on our terrace before the film starts.
Backseatmafia: ”When the War Comes is a frightening documentary which demonstrates what can happen in a county where politicians allow discontent to fester. Gebert highlights the danger of letting this type of organisation gain grassroots support.”
Modern Times Review: ”When the war comes reveals how vulnerable our constitutional systems are. Our freedom is increasingly threatened by extremist groups that are not an enemy from other parts of the world, but instead comprised of members of our own society.”