A FILM ABOUT RACISM AGAINST HUNGARIAN RROMA WINS A PRIZE AT THE BERLINALE
The 2012 Jury’s Grand Prize has been awarded to 'Just the wind', a film that portrays the fear of the Hungarian Roma to the racist violence that shakes the country
The racism and xenophobia against the Rroma population present in Hungary during the past recent years has reached the big screen thanks to the Hungarian director Benedek Fliegauf, who, with the film Csak a Szél (Just the wind), has managed to obtain 2012 Jury’s Grand Prize at the recent edition of the Berlinale.
Between 2008 and 2009, several murders motivated exclusively by racism and hatred towards the Roma shook this country, which has continued veering to the far right during the past years. The Hungarian Rroma population lives in fear and frightened by the threats of many neonazi groups; many families have been forced to seek asylum in Canada.
In June 2011 the Romani Union issued a communiqué entitled “The daily tragedy of Roma in Hungary” and we commented that the racist approached the houses inhabited by our brothers by saying: “Get out Gypsies, today you are all going to die!”. Indeed, a neofascist group marches almost every day in some Hungarian town terrorizing the poor and helpless Roma.
At least 300 Roma left Gyöngyöspata in April 2011. They fled from the right-wing militias Vederö (Protection Force) and from the Betyaren Army, which takes its name from the nineteenth century struggle against the Habsburgs’ domination.
Only 42% of the Roma end school, while the average for the non Roma is 97.5%. Although it is forbidden, in some Hungarian schools they still separate Roma children from the rest of students.
The director Benedek Fliegauf portrays, through his camera, the life of a Roma mother and her children, plunged into fear, since they live close to one of the families killed by racist violence. For them, every step is marked by insecurity and panic to die at the hands of neonazis. The film unveils the vision of the innocent victims of this cruel reality that still takes place in Hungary nowadays.
The actors of 'Only the wind' are members of the Roma community who had never devoted to cinema. Katalin Toldi, who plays Mari in the film, has said that she has been a victim of discrimination due to her ethnicity.
We are pleased to hear that our complaints, the ones that we have been long ago making by using all means at our disposal, are echoed in this very important European film festival.
Good for the Berlinale! Good for the jury! Good for all Berliners who have allowed us to raise our voice so that the world is aware of the tragedy our brothers go through when blind, nazi and homicidal racism torments the weakest and most helpless.
Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia
President of the Romani Union