East Punk Memories 2014
Distributed by Icarus Films, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710
Directed by Lucile Chaufour
DVD, color, 88 min.
Adolescents, Communism, Politics, Popular Culture, Punk Rock Music, Social Behavior, Soviet History
Date Entered: 07/06/2016Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA
With roots in Britain and the United States, at the core of a worldwide punk subculture movement were disaffected youth. Rebelling against political and social complacency, widespread unemployment, and the blandness of disco, musical groups such as the Sex Pistols and The Ramones influenced young people around the world. How that influence was interpreted by adolescents in Hungary is the subject of this fascinating documentary by French filmmaker Chaufour.
Using first-person narration, archival photographs and Super 8 video footage from the 1980s, the punk music scene in Budapest past and present is examined. While bands such as The Clash and Rancid flirted with socialist ideology, Hungarian punks living under the yoke of a totalitarian regime expressed frustration with Soviet-style communism by rebelling against it. What became of those angry young people after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989? Interviews conducted with men and women from the Hungarian punk movement, twenty years later, show a resurgence of nationalism, disregard for western capitalism, and nostalgia for the bygone days. Similar to their western counterparts but for entirely different reasons, a number of these youths later became skinheads, skirting with fascism and the political right.
Chaufour presents an interesting perspective on an influential social movement and subculture. Loosely divided into six categories: Friends, Roots, Fascism, Memories, Changes, and Future, this sharply edited film is recommended for general audiences with an interest in punk history.