(The Election Campaigners)

This 1993 documentary moves smoothly between the inhabitants of Austria and manages to capture the respondents almost unawares. For the most part, it traces the followers of Jörg Haider's FPÖ (Freedom Party of Austria) during their campaign throughout 1992 and 1993. Director Helmut Grasser shows us angered Viennese residents who support Haider's ideals as well as socialist youths demonstrating against the dangers of Haider's thought; ironically, the former say things used to be better in the good old days while the latter believe things are slowly getting worse because of the influence of people like Haider. Most fascinating of all, perhaps, are the moments in the film spent privately with Haider and his closest companions as they freely spout their extreme right-wing points of view. While Haider speaks at a party conference, the viewer gets a taste of how rational and logical the argumentation can sound when passing through the lips of this charismatic populist. Unfortunately, the editing cuts this segment short before the full exposition of his policies can be heard. It is not unthinkable that people could come away from this film with varying impressions, depending upon their political ideologies.

Remember, Mr. Haider himself has said more recently, during an interview for magazine "Die Zeit" in February of 2000, "There is lots of excitement in the European chicken pen - even though the fox hasn't even gotten in." It seems, considering events even more recently, that "Haider-Gate" may be putting an end to the poaching completely.

Have a look at the other IDFA 2000 reviews:

The Video Diary of Ricardo Lopez
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
AJAX - Daar Hoorden Zij Engelen Zingen (AJAX - Where They Heard The Angels Singing)
Os Carvoeiros (The Charcoal People)
11 and 12
Havanna, Mi Amor (Havana, My Love)

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett