People oblivious to oppressive regimes till they affect them: Hungarian director

Last Updated: Wed, Nov 27, 2019 23:38 hrs

Panaji, Nov 27 (IANS) Dictatorial and oppressive regimes thrive because most of the people choose to go on with their daily routines, but only when the regime focuses its nefarious attention on someone close to them that they feel the perils of such rule, Oscar winning Hungarian director Kristof Deak said on Wednesday.

Deak's period drama 'Captives', set during the Stalinist regime in Hungary in 1951 was screened at the ongoing 50th International Film Festival of India here.

He said the film is relevant today because of the current political climate in several countries across the world.

"That is why nothing happens and that is why a lot of people keep living their lives in the dictatorial regimes. Most people, they just turn their heads because it (oppression) is not affecting them," Deak said during an interaction with the media.

"When it starts happening to them, when the secret police start targeting the family, that is when they realise that it is not that easy to turn your head away. A regime like that can always target you and find you and that is where the real oppression lies," he said.

Deak's film 'Singa' won the Academy Award for the best live action short film in 2017.

The source for his latest movie, 'Captives', lay in an old VHS tape, he said, which his writer stumbled upon. It contained the account of an old woman, who recounts an instance when the secret police in Hungary paid a surprise visit to the home of a family in Communist-run Budapest.

"Such unexpected visits by the secret police were not unexpected in the 1950s. Usually they would take you away and the family will never see you again. Except in this case, the police moved into their flat and kept the family as prisoners. Anyone who came to the flat were not allowed to leave. People kept accumulating in the flat," Deak said, adding that much of the film, which is a part of 15 films competing in the international competition category at the festival, was largely shot in one room.

"Not minding what is happening around you and living your life, like nothing is wrong, until it is you who is targetted, until it is you who has a problem with the system, that is very much an actual problem today. That is why I believe a story like this has relevance," Deak said.

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