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KARLOVY VARY 2017 Documentary Competition

Review: The White World According to Daliborek

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- The Czech Vít Klusák presents a simple portrait of the life of a neo-Nazi, setting off with almost ridiculous, absurd humour, and arriving at a devastating end

Review: The White World According to Daliborek

The current surge in far-right nationalists in Europe can be seen as an instinctive reaction. Citizens are responding to the brutal economic crisis, the incessant flow of migrants and the increasingly paranoid fear of terrorism. But one thing we cannot forget, whether we like it or not, is that such ideologies have always been shared and spurred on by human specimens who – to put it kindly – leave much to be desired. One of these specimens has been chosen by Czech documentary filmmaker Vít Klusák as the protagonist for The White World According to Daliborek [+see also:
trailer
interview: Vít Klusák
film profile
]
, premiered worldwide in the Documentary Films Competition at the 52nd Karlovy Vary Festival.

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This is Dalibor, a man of almost 40 years who still lives in with his mother in an apartment in the Czech city of Prostějov. Dalibor (or fondly Daliborek) is very blond, very macho and very neo-Nazi. How can a filmmaker create a portrait of a character who, due to the very nature of his ideas, draws disdain from the get-go? As he has shown in his previous documentaries, Vít Klusák has the answer: through humour. And if it ends up being ridiculous and absurd – even better.

This is how he takes us into the life of Dalibor who, locked up in his room decorated with flags bearing Templar crosses as well as garish ornaments, records YouTube videos with not much talent but more than enough rage. Songs he has written himself about how women must be enslaved, and videos faking the murder of his mother or the persecution of Roma people around a bonfire (who are none other than his mother and her boyfriend with black face paint). Dalibor also wants love, and though things are not going too well on this front, he gets to know Jana, a young single mother who, probably due to her own highly complicated personal life, decides to play along.

Though Klusák offers glimpses into Dalibor’s daily life between his home and the factory where he works in a sometimes overly simplistic way, he knows how to highlight what is most relevant. The film expresses itself around these repeated and often laughable conversations filled with hate and racism, forcing the viewer to come face-to-face with an ideology that is impossible to justify.

Interestingly, The White World… saves its most brutal passage for the end (specifically for the epilogue). On a family trip to Auschwitz, Dalibor’s extremism reaches universally painful levels. What could have been perceived as hilarious up to this point turns, glaringly, into something inhuman, even forcing the film crew to intervene in the story to reveal a secret that the viewer had no inkling of. A bit of karmic justice.

The film has been produced by Hypermarket Film and Ceská Televize (Czech Republic), Peter Kerekes Film (Slovakia) and Britdoc (United Kingdom).

(Translated from Spanish)

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