┐ Just the Wind └

“With the collapse of the Hungarian economy and government austerity measures, crimes—petty or otherwise—and every other social ill were blamed on the Roma and a lynch-mob atmosphere was whipped up against the community, which only constitutes about 5 percent of the Hungarian population. Homes were fire-bombed and Roma men, women and children shot and killed by extreme-right terror groups operating with the tacit support of the police and state authorities.


Just the Wind is filmed in documentary style with hand-held camera, natural lighting, sparse dialogue and non-professional actors. It chronicles 24-hours in the life of one Roma family—Mari (Katalin Toldi), a single mother, her invalided father, Anna (Gyöngyi Lendvai) and Rio (Lajos Sarkany), her two school-age children. The family is part of a small poverty-stricken Roma community living on the forested outskirts of a Hungarian town.


Poverty dominates every moment of their lives. Mari works two low-paying cleaning jobs, including one at her daughter’s school, to try and make ends while hoping that her husband, who has emigrated to Canada, will send for the family.
Mari leaves for work in the early hours, with her children more or less left to their own devices, and returns after dark. Anti-Roma slurs and institutionalised racism confront them at every turn—whether at school or in the work place. The entire community, in fact, is under threat following the recent murder of a neighbouring family.


Ugly incidents build throughout the film. Anna witnesses a rape at school but is too afraid to report it to the authorities, probably because she has been subjected to the same brutality. Eleven-year-old Rio does not go to school, plays video games, and spends time in a secret hideout he has fashioned in the nearby forest. He hopes it will protect him in the event of any violent attacks.


Rio later overhears two Hungarian policemen examining what remains of the home of the murdered neighbouring Roma family. One of the cops tells his partner that this family were “hard-working” and should not have been killed. “They are shooting the wrong families. I could show them who to shoot,” he declares.


The film’s climax occurs at night, after Mari has returned home and they are preparing to sleep. There is some rustling outside their rudimentary home but they reassure each other that it is “Just the wind.”


Fliegauf is measured in his approach and does not idealise the Roma family or sensationalise the tragic story. While the film’s closing credits provide some limited factual details on the anti-Roma attacks there are no references to the role played by Hungarian governments—past and present—and the mass media who are politically responsible for extreme-right militia thugs‘ attacks on the Roma.


Despite this, Just the Wind is a compassionate work and hopefully will encourage audiences—especially outside Europe, where there is virtually no reportage on the Roma—to investigate these issues more deeply.”

by Richard Phillips, from here

More about the violence against Roma in Hungary here

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