Political Animals

It has been a while since politics has inspired as much fear as recently — or fed as much on fear. In the hands of leaders who can only see their narrow immediate interests, politics becomes a conduit for a provincial and isolationist spirit, and sometimes for the aggressive exclusion of everything that seems new, foreign, or unknown. Alas, the déjà vu is inescapable: we all feel that we have been here before, either in 2000, when for the first time since the end of the Cold War nationalist and xenophobic politics started to take hold again, or in the 1930s, when much of Europe fell into the grip of fascism and nazism. The films selected here dissect politics, politicians, simple voters, victims and accomplices of political change — from the psychoanalysis of Austrian nationalism, through the parade of characters competing for Slovakia’s presidency in a new populist era, to the comedy of narcissism campaigning through the streets of New York, and ending with the tragedy of victims and accomplices of fascism and nazism.