Hot Docs 2017: Our Review of ‘Meuthen’s Party’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Hot Docs 2017, Movies by - May 05, 2017
Hot Docs 2017: Our Review of ‘Meuthen’s Party’

The film opens with two Germans putting up campaign posters with slogans saying ‘Rescue: Bottomless Pit’. These words are symptoms of our volatile society. Posters like this use innocent looking sentences yet some of us know what their message truly is. I guess the poster and the man putting them up needs some context. These posters are for Jorg Meuthen a man as innocent looking as his posters. He’s an economics professor who used to be a member of Germany’s leftist Green Party. But Meuthen’s now a candidate campaigning for the AfD, or the Altervative fur Deutschland.

The ‘rescue’ that Meuthen mentions in one of his posters pertain to the rescue of Syrian refugees. The party’s anti-refugee stance has made them slightly more popular in Meuthen’s southern province of Baden-Wurttenberg. But the party is not just anti-refugee – they’re also anti-immigrant, Islamophobic anti-sex education, and transphobic. They’re an ‘anti’ party, as much as he likes to deny it. Marc Eberhardt’s Meuthen’s Party follows Meuthen during the campaign to win a seat in his province’s Bundestag. Eberhardt captures both the smaller and larger tasks that Meuthen himself must do to win.

Eberhardt lets us watch Meuthen put up posters in the middle of the night and make public appearances. I found myself slightly at odds with Eberhardt’s approach, capturing even the Meuthen’s smallest tasks. He also makes sure to distance himself from his subject. He prefers to shoot Meuthen behind glass partitions or on TV screens or video projections. Sometimes I wish he got into his face the way we see journalists and protesters do. But I understand that all he needs is subtext. A racist putting up posters or blowing up balloons is still a racist. And all Eberhardt needs to do is to show us that this person exists.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.