Written by Evdokia Charalampous and Penny Chalk
A rebellious character is revealed in the first few seconds of the film. Theatrical intervals of men and women with white faces seek to convey more than mere information. They give to the documentary its initial taste of desolation which later on transforms into something not so bitter. By the end of the film the director attempts redress, with the song ‘The one who loses takes it all’ playing, as the titles fall.
Fascism Inc is a documentary that provides a fresh analytical approach to what is a recurrent epidemic disease of society. By exploring the rise of fascism throughout history, and in Europe, the director Aris Chatzistephanou reveals a link that has been under explored, that between capitalism and fascism. The documentary was the third and last film of the Being Human festival, which hoped to shed light and generate debate on important social issues.
This film is part of a trilogy concerned with the causes and effects of the financial crisis in Greece. All three documentaries of Chatzistephanou – Debtocracy, Catastroika and Fascism Inc – were crowdfunded, with the last one raising the necessary money in less than two weeks.
An introduction by Dr Lydia Papadimitriou, a Greek film expert, provided us with background information on the neo-Nazi group, Golden Dawn, and the turmoil they are causing within the Greek society. Concern is raised because the party seems to be influencing an unexpectedly large amount of people, as the elections of 2012 proved.
The exploration begins by pinning down the time and place where fascism was born. In a meeting held in Italy in 1919 by the country’s big industrialists, Mussolini promises to wage war against small farmers and the unions of the workers. Interviews with historians from Greece, Germany, Italy and England expose a recurrent pattern that manifests itself in times of financial difficulties.
As the director stated in a Q & A after the screening, ‘an economic crisis can exist with no fascism, but fascism cannot exist without an economic crisis’. He proposes that fascism is a tool utilised by the economic elite when the masses are reacting against a system that can no longer provide for them. Greek fascism and Golden Dawn are used by politicians, entrepreneurs and the media, to suit their own interests.
This perpetuated collusion between tycoons, private media and politicians from the entire political spectrum has always been distracting and has confused public opinion. Corrupted politicians found on both the left and right wing have as their premier goal, the polarisation and consequent division of the people. One of the many evils that this polarisation has fed, is fascism.
The chasm between extreme ideologies is what provides the ground for the exploitation of the Greek people, which are absorbed within a never ending conflict. Therefore I cannot help wondering whether the polemical approach of the film, as the director described it, is the most effective way of addressing a problem like this. Nevertheless, with scepticism or without, this documentary is by all means recommended.
Evdokia Charalampous is an MA student of Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth, and Penny Chalk is studying for a PhD in American Film History at the University of Portsmouth.
© Alan Grant – Dr Deborah Shaw, Associate Dean of Research for the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, and curator of the Portsmouth events of the Being Human festival introducing the screening.
© Alan Grant – The director, Aris Chatzistephanou answering questions from the audience along with Dr Lydia Papadimitriou.
© Alan Grant – A short break after the film and before the Q & A allowed the viewers to discuss their opinions.
© Alan Grant