The times we currently live in aren't simple. Especially in Europe we have experienced that the so-called solidarity union is only a marriage meant for good times. It falls apart as soon as a crisis develops. Once the tenor of politics changes, part of the population feels encouraged to present and act out their radical ideas openly.
A member of such a community, Dalibor K., is in the centre of The White World According to Daliborek that had its world premiere in the documentary competition at this year's Karlovy Vary Film Festival. The depiction of the character is on the verge of being caricaturistic, as the protagonist and his dispositions check a lot of boxes that the general public might associate with supporters of right-wing movements. Dalibor lives in a small town, where he considers himself to be a representative of the upstanding part of the population. He has a broken family, unsatisfying love life and a job he doesn't like, although the occupation allows him to fill his room up with flags, guns, boots and other Nazi memorabilia. Unless playing video games, he spends his spare time mostly on the internet. There he bookmarks the apparently genuine sources of information that confirm his worldview but not just that – he is also publishing his amateur videos. One could argue that the leitmotif of these videos is suppressed desire. YouTube enables him to sing sexually explicit lyrics, attack his mother, or live out his depression by acting out his death.
Dalibor's perspective and demeanour don't falter even when he forms new relations, and even has an affair. Although it becomes clear that his ideology is just swagger without any actual criminal intent, he seizes every opportunity to express his feelings vocally. Changes enable him to have a wider audience. It is telling that Dalibor suddenly decides to pack his things and move away after the film (as stated in the end titles), arguing that he doesn't want to become under attack because of his ideas. Apparently, he didn't recognize his lines of thought until he saw himself in the mirror.
That mirror was provided by Vit Klusák and Filip Remunda, who became infamous and oft-awarded with their first documentary project already. In 2004 the duo sharing writing, directing and producing credits made Czech Dream, a doc about an invented hypermarket. A harsh blow to the religion of consumerism, that became especially intense in newly democratised countries. It was only the beginning of a series of provocative and sharp documentaries. Hence it is a bit surprising that they didn't take a fresher approach in this film. For the most part, the protagonist is leading the story in his own direction, with expected results. Only the concluding addendum deepens the narrative, adding bitter social commentary.
In large part, this film offers a stylised profile of the archetype of an insecure individual who clings to the promise of empowerment in a superior social structure. In order to be fully accepted in that future world, he persists to accept and support all ideological tropes. One cannot help thinking that unfortunately this type of people would be the most effective soldiers in the case of a war. Simply due to the fact that they would just follow orders.
The White World according to Daliborek won't erase the irrational fears nested in the minds of the general public. It cannot tackle the societal shifts and challenges and sadly won't stop the flourishing of right-wing movements either. Maybe it will convey another side of the subject matter. Nowadays, every warning of this kind is desperately needed.
Name: Miha Veingerl
C. Photo Credit: The White World According to Daliborek (2017)
"The White World According to Daliborek" by Vit Klusak (CZ, SK)
KVIFF 2017 - Karlovy Vary International Film Festival - Documentary Films (Competition)