Return of right-wing ideology regressive, stupid: Volker Schlöndorff - The Statesman

Return of right-wing ideology regressive, stupid: Volker Schlöndorff

Volker Schlöndorff, Kolkata, Oscar, KIFF, Kolkata International Film Festival, Delhi, Adolf Hitler, Donald Trump, Satyajit Ray, Brexit, West Bengal, Bengal

Schlöndorff, along with Tollywood director Goutam Ghose (left) and sound artist Sanjit P Ghosh near Howrah Bridge. (SNS)

Volker Schlöndorff, the German filmmaker and Oscar winner, expressed apprehension about the upsurge of right-wing ideology in various parts of the world, saying that the return of such nationalism is regressive, incomprehensible and stupid. The acclaimed director, known for his masterpieces like The Tin Drum, The Handmaid s Tale and the Death of a Salesman, was in the city as an international guest of the state for the 25 Kolkata International Film Festival. He left for Delhi today, where he will be shooting for his upcoming film, The Forest Maker, based on the issue of climate change.

The filmmaker, who has been vocal about the adverse effects of right-wing ideology on culture, said, “The right wing people in their ideology are against culture and it is a fact everywhere in the world, be it Adolf Hitler or Donald Trump. This is because they do not like the critical spirit that is inborn in culture. Culture always is questioning about right and wrong ways of living which is disliked by such people.”

The winner of the Palme d’Or regretted the return of the right wing ideology, and said: “It seems incomprehensible that after about a century we again have terrible right wing governments. We had thought that right wing ideology was over and we have reached a more reasonable way to deal with each other. But the fact is, that in Europe, America and everywhere in the world, including India, right-wing ideology is getting stronger and stronger. The only explanation that I have is that people feel bypassed by the development of technology and globalisation and they cannot keep up with the pace of the changes. These factions then have a regressive reaction, locking themselves to nationalism, religious and political fundamentalism and all kinds of doctrinarian beliefs where they feel protected.”


Quoting the French anthropologist, Claude Lévi-Strauss, the filmmaker pointed out that in the beginning of the 20th century, there were revolutionary movements, followed by Fascist movements and another set of revolutionary movements in the 60s. “However, now we are back to the right wing movements as if mankind is developing not towards progress, but towards an eternal return of different kinds of moments,” highlighted the eminent German director, who has chosen Sanjit Pintu Ghosh, a sound artist from Kolkata and a graduate of the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute to work on his upcoming film.

Speaking to The Statesman about the call of “America for Americans” and Brexit, the director said, “It is such nationalism that brings up borders. Such nationalism is regressive and also stupid because it is too late for such ideologies. The world already is all one and one cannot all of a sudden create walls and barriers everywhere. The walls were for the middle ages and the time for such barriers is over now.”