PODCAST| Matt Micucci interviews Håvard Bustnes, director of the film Golden Dawn Girls.
To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture
Director Håvard Bustnes presented his feature documentary, Golden Dawn Girls, at the 30th International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). Golden Dawn is the name of an extrme nationalist party in Greece, and the film focuses on the women of the party, who had to take charge when the male leaders were arrested in 2013. Yet, the filming was not without his difficulty; although Bustnes had access, he found that in the interviews he wasn’t getting many straight answers and that the protagonists of his film were being quite protective: “they try to pretend that they are a serious political party, so it was difficult to get underneath that.” This is also why he decided to use clips in the film and also why he decided to include himself in the film. Despite this, Bustnes insists that he “tried to understand their worldview, that are so different from my worldview. In a way, you could say that we put up the rope, and they hang themselves.” In this interview, he talks about the challenges of making Golden Dawn Girls, and also proposes his opinion on why the popularity of Golden Dawn rose in Greece in 2012, and what should be done to stop this. We also talk about the fact that since then, extreme nationalist parties have been gaining momentum in many other countries outside of Greece as well. As far as his filmmaking interests are concerned, he also tells us that while Golden Dawn Girls is a politically themed documentary, he was more interested in the human aspect of the story: “I am mostly interested in the women and where they are at,” he says, as he tells us that the extreme nationalist women in his documentary turned out to be quite different from what he thought they would be when he first started the project.
Golden Dawn Girls: “Whatever has happened to Greece?” wonders filmmaker Håvard Bustnes out loud at the start of this disturbing documentary. In recent years, its image as a country of sunny beaches and friendly people has been overshadowed by political ideologies that are terrifyingly close to Nazism. With many prominent members of the far-right Golden Dawn party now behind bars, a daughter, a wife and a mother continue to propagate its message—and all three of them are seasoned enough to avoid any slips of the tongue during interviews. But while they regularly stop the interview to make sure it went as they want, Bustnes just leaves the camera running. The resulting material, supplemented with archive footage that leaves no room for doubt about the depraved side of this political party, reveals an ever-widening gulf between clear facts and political image-making. While it’s frustrating that the women are so unbending in their views, it does illustrate how wearing blinders can derail an entire society.