directed by Håvard Bustnes
Hot Docs, the Canadian International Documentary Festival, runs April 26-May 6, 2018 at Toronto's Bloor Cinema. Visit the fest's official site for more details.
by Bill Chambers The eponymous Golden Dawn girls are three women connected by marriage or blood to Greece's relatively new but steadily growing Golden Dawn party. They've taken centre stage in the absence of the party's male superintendents, who are all incarcerated. (As Norwegian director Håvard Bustnes says at the outset: More on that later.) The Golden Dawn party evolved from a far-right newspaper into a fascist movement, though its affiliates rabidly resist the Nazi stigma. Nazis, they say, were German--this is Greece. Nazis were National Socialists, Golden Dawn-ers are Social Nationalists. My favourite defense comes from Dafni, mother of jailed member Panagiotis Iliopoulos, who insists that her son couldn't be a Nazi because he was born after WWII. In footage from a TV interview, Golden Dawn spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris claims complete ignorance of this "Hitler" fellow when questioned about his "Sieg Heil" tattoo--"hail victory" simply seemed like a good message to spread via his arm. Asked why he had it written in German instead of Greek, then, he says the German font was an aesthetic preference. They have an answer for everything--never a good one, but typically one so literal-minded it shuts down discourse. Bustnes valiantly tries, over and over, to get them to budge, to confront their reflection--the image they present to the world.