Eszter you had a very close look into the electoral campaign of the former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsán and his pro-European left-wing Democratic Coalition. How was it possible for you to make this documentary? You had personal contacts with Mr. Gyurcsán, I image, as you had also access to his private life.
I built contacts piece by piece, first I created a relation to him and his wife, Klára Dobrev. I was interested not in the past but in the present what is going on now in Hungary, the political battle of 2018.
Do you think Gyurcsán can still have a political career in Hungary?
Yes. Why not. In 2009 he stepped aside as he believed people didn’t support him anymore. But as for the future everything can happen. I would have never believed we would have such extreme right wing in Hungary.
Unremarkably in your documentary the main character is George Soros who doesn’t feature.
The right wing accused him of being an agent of Brussels encouraging illegal immigration. No one knows and no one reasonably explained why he would be on the side of illegality. Extreme right propaganda made an effective strong hate campaign against him. They created a picture of evil, the rich Jewish American born in Hungary. They made a traditional caricature of him with animated pictures of Jewish forefathers and things like that. A fetish that everybody can hate.
Which is your opinion on George Soros?
You can expect people like him are not completely pure… I guess there would be something to say about his business, but on the other hand he is one of the biggest philanthropists of the world. In Hungary nearly all the movements and projects with focus on human rights, women’s empowerment, migrants or children’s protection, Roma etc., are financed by Soros.
Have you ever met him?
Not personally. He funded the Central European University in Hungary, one of the best university in the world. I studied there fifteen years ago. When I got my diploma he shook hands to all students.
Hungary was the country where the revival of the far-right in Europe was ideologically best rooted and the right wing populism with its racist extremism is most appealing. How do you explain that? Has it anything to do with the communist past?
We have a very long tradition of extreme right; the first antisemitic party in Europe came out in Hungary, in the nineteen century. Holocaust and Second World War were never discussed openly and responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of dead was never faced in the country. It has to do with the tragedy of the Second World War and the role our country had in the Holocaust. It was never discussed, not openly. With this government far-right fascism has become part of national culture. This government has never touched on some of our main taboos from the past. They remain in the closet of the society. Orbán regime has been manipulating history to trigger anger in our society. With the regime change in the Nineties, after the collapse of the communist rule, Hungary people believed to have better life. It didn’t happen, not immediately.
People became more and more frustrated, this feeling was cleverly exploited by some politicians to build their power. In so doing they were also able to overshadow the real problems of our country: education, health care and definitively not refugees or homosexuals. There is huge poverty in Hungary. Soon or later people will realize the country can go on living like that.
How do you see the future of the political opposition?
The fact is that media are completely controlled by the government. Completely, there no chance to report other information and get people to know what the truth is. People believe Orbán is saving the nation.
In the opening scene we see a cofounder of Fidesz speaking about transgender in Great Britain and their persuasive power on children. It seems to be a comedy show, hilarious and consistently funny to the point when we realize the man isn’t actually playing, it is dramatically true what he is saying. How people can believe such nonsense?
People do not read newspapers, and even if they would, paper and online newspapers are in the hands of the government.
In Hungary 2018 sexual topics frequently used by far right politicians. Is it part of their rhetoric or has it something to do with the catholic roots of the country.
This government defends Catholicism of course, relates constantly to Catholicism, formally inspiring to Christian roots, but in fact Orbán politics is everything but Christian. They campaign against migrants, homosexuals, Roma, even against the Pope because of his support to migrants.
What about your next project?
A completely different project. I am working on a very famous Hungarian musician from the Seventies who migrated to the United States because he couldn’t live under the communist regime, he could stand the closeness. He preferred to live as an unknown person in the USA rather than be a pop star in Hungary.