Monday, January 31, 2005

Political Filmmaking in Croatia

Tragic protagonist of the last presidential elections is Boris Mikšić (Boris Miksic). He, to everyone's, including his own, surprise won second place in the first round, humiliating the favoured and government-sponsored HDZ candidate Jadranka Kosor. However, thanks to Herzegovina votes and fraud, his second place disappeared.

Mikšić made a mistake by trying to extend his short-lived triumph with staging Croatian version of Orange Revolution. However, Croatians' traditional unwillingness for such kind of endeavours, Mikšić's lack of foreign support and organisational infrastructure, as well as fear of things getting out of hand led to the Revolution being stillborn and Mikšić losing credibility of serious politician. To make things worse for him, media, undoubtedly aided by government and mainstream opposition – both scared by legions of Mikšić's protest voters that could damage them at upcoming local elections – applied Plan B and exposed stories about Mikšić being long-time domestic abuser. For many political observers in Croatia, that meant the end of Mikšić's political career.

After few weeks Mikšić decided to get back in the ring and stay true to his promise of running on the local elections.

Yesterday he had a press conference during which he formally announced that he will run for Zagreb mayor and also have his tickets on the elections in other Croatian towns. He also explained that he won't form new political party because "they were too many political parties in Croatia". This corresponds well with the populist anti-establishment sentiments that brought him so many votes.

However, the person he chose to accompany him at the press conference is most likely to further damage his image of serious candidate. At the conference he had an endorsement of Jakov Sedlar, one of the best known, but also the most disliked of all public figures in Croatia. Sedlar, author of controversial Četverored (Cetverored) and many other films, is often seen as the embodiment of everything which was bad in Croatian culture during Tudjman's years. Many of his films are considered to be among the worst in the history of Croatian cinema and Sedlar himself as a worthless hack. However, Sedlar's lack of filmmaking talent was always compensated with his incredibly ability to get huge budgets from powerful sponsors, mostly government. At the conference he announced that he would make 58-minute documentary for PBS detailing the recent vote fraud.

Will Sedlar deliver to Mikšić what Michael Moore failed to deliver to John Kerry? Not likely. Average voter didn't need documentaries to be attracted to Mikšić and his populist message. Intelligentsia, on the other hand, will use Sedlar as a rallying point against Mikšić and do everything in its power to prevent people like him becoming serious factors in Croatian politics.


Blogger Seesaw said...

I must say Mikšić himself to me looks like an actor! But with Sedlar on his side... I do sincerelly hope he has no chances in Zagreb. But then, who knows! It is him or Bandić, I guess.

2:00 PM  

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