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Golden Dawn Girls

Norwegian filmmaker Håvard Bustnes reveals the daunting reality behind the closed doors of Greece's extreme nationalist party leaders' homes

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Ourania Michalokiakou, the daughter of Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos.

20 November 2017

Golden Dawn Party has seen a steady rise in popularity over the past few years due to the financial hardship and instability tormenting Greece, resulting in various human rights crises.

The once ostracised far right nationalist group even made it into the Greek parliament, taking third place in a wave of voter fury in 2015 following the example of other Neo-Fascist political parties inching into the mainstream all over Europe.

Directed by acclaimed Norwegian filmmaker Håvard Bustnes of Faction Film, a new documentary titled Golden Dawn Girls finds an opening into the families of Greece's extreme nationalist leaders' homes, exposing the daunting ideologies ingrained in their everyday lives. This weekend sees the world premiere of the much anticipated political documentary in Amsterdam, as part of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) which runs from 15 to 26 November. The film has been nominated in the feature-length documentary category.

"Whatever has happened to Greece?" wonders Bustnes out loud at the start of this disturbing doco, trying to comprehend how a peaceful country of sunny beaches and friendly people has been overshadowed by political ideologies that are terrifyingly close to Nazism.

"Especially given the country's history."

Neos Kosmos contacted Faction Film and Bustnes for comment, and Bustnes said that he is "overwhelmed by all the attention Golden Dawn Girls has gotten already, even before the world premiere at IDFA in Amsterdam on the 19th of November.

"Right now I need to have full focus on everything that needs to be done before this premiere, but as things look now we'll be able to show the film in Greece in early 2018."

The filmmaker and his team manage to provide a deep and rare political profiling not only of the prominent male Golden Dawn members but of their families, with the main focus being the women in their lives; the mothers, the wives, the daughters.

While watching the trailer it seems surprising that Bustnes gained access to one of the most closed and protected communities in Greece.

The dedicated filmmaker took a grand risk to illustrate the poisonous views of the Golden Dawn members, promising he would make sure they are portrayed as "normal people". One snippet shows one of the women 'starring' in the documentary reassuring one of the men disturbed by the presence of cameras in their headquarters that the crew is not Greek "they are Norwegian, they told me that they just want to make a film and show that we are normal people, with families", she says.

Bustnes assures them that the interview will go as they want, but leaves his camera running revealing the dangers and discrepancies of the Golden Dawn propaganda.

Shockingly, it is the women who are more adamant and hardline in their beliefs, forcing them upon their children, the director realises. With many of the prominent male members of the party imprisoned following murder charges and other organised criminal activity, it is these wives, daughters, and mothers that push the party forward and make some of the harshest decisions.

"Golden Dawn Girls exposes the mindset, values, and personalities of the people on the front lines of modern nationalism. The crew gain access to secret chambers and witnesses the family dynamics of one of Europe's most notorious nationalist parties, during the 2015 elections and at the time the Golden Dawn trial unfolded. The women stepped up to lead the party (then the fifth-largest political party), through the election.
"We have decided not to comment further at this point but will have more to discuss after the IDFA premiere and once we confirm the Greek release date and/or an Australian one."

Watch the film's trailer here: 

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