Grlic for Radar: Nationalism is the first step to fascism

NEWS 20.06.202412:55

The new film by celebrated Yugoslav and Croatian director Rajko Grlic, titled “It All Ends Here,” will open the 71st Pula Film Festival and Grlic describes it as “a love story immersed in Croatian reality,” the weekly Radar said in its latest issue.

Grlic passionately disagrees with a remark that there are but a handful of love stories: “I don’t agree. There are hundreds, in a million and one combinations. The charm lies precisely in this unpredictability of possible combinations.”

In an interview with Radar magazine, the acclaimed director talked about why the late writer Miroslav Krleza is no longer welcome in Croatia, about the cultural connections of the former Yugoslav region, and the increasingly noticeable rise of the right-wing both in Croatia and in Serbia.

“History teaches us that the German clown with the small moustache wasn’t the one who invented fascsism. It repeats itself in various forms and times, in different places. As far as our region is concerned, I’ve always thought that nationalism, along with all that patriotic mythomania and manipulation of nations, is just the first step toward fascism. The breakup of Yugoslavia and the war obviously created an atmosphere where nationalism gradually, almost imperceptibly, took on all the characteristics of early fascism over these thirty years,” said Grlic.

Asked if the situation in Croatia and Serbia at present day is reminiscent of the nineties, Grlic told Radar that, the way he sees it, the 1990s resemble the 1930s.

“When you can’t offer people a decent present, then promise them a better future or, even better, convince them loudly, if possible with tears and to the beating of the drums, that their past was heroic and that today we must endure so that this past can repeat itself tomorrow. States obviously abundantly use the tried and tested formula of all possible religions about a sacred past and a heavenly afterlife,” Grlic told Radar.

Commenting on the Serbs’ status in Croatia, Grlic said he was no celebrity over the past thirty or so years, and that, with the extreme right coming to power, the truth about Jasenovac is also being rewritten.

“This shameful rewriting of the basic narrative of Jasenovac by the Ministry of Culture speaks to the sad state of spirit in Croatia at this point in time. On the other hand, and they are more than aware of this, it plays into the hands of your authorities to spread hatred and so keep feeding each other by falsifying history on both sides,” Grlic told Radar.