The film director and performer Erde was staying in Maribor during its time as the European Capital of Culture 2012, which, in its epilogue, resulted in a prologue of the most widespread wave of protest ever to emerge in Slovenia as an independent state. In her documentary film Galibor, Erde subsequently places her focus on the reconstruction of political history, on the global economic crisis and also on wider socio-cultural changes emerging in Slovenia, such as the results of the EU integration process. All of the above segments are reconstructed through interviews with individuals of both genders and of various ages, with different personal experiences and subjective histories, thus embedding abstract concepts and processes with the perspective of everyday experiential reality accompanied by expressions of personal expectations, disappointments and subjective states of futile hopelessness. In order to bring diverse heterogeneity of perspectives into focus, Erde subtly draws on her choice of interlocutors. The minimalistic narrative structure and her directorial intervention set the scene for a conglomerate of personal views, expressed by children, cultural workers, war veterans, politicians and long-term “foreign” residents in Slovenia as well as others, touching upon the themes of national identity and a sense of belonging, national history and the current socio-cultural state of affairs, whereby these subjective perspectives in the end all melt into one pressing call for change, placed in the hands of socially engaged individuals.
In short, Erde constructs her documentary film (GALIBOR) on the basis of an emerging process of massive uprising in Slovenia, which was set into motion exactly in Maribor. The views expressed by Erde’s respondents thus on one hand serve as contextual threads for the uprising, depicted in a rather non-explicit and non-obvious manner, while on the other hand the very approach of the narrative structure formation turns out to function as the means for its rationalisation – namely, the initial heterogeneity and the relatively general nature of views in the end set up a very clear focus and send out a very clear message. From this perspective, the documentary film represents an important document of a certain time, inscribing the protest wave into history in synchronicity with its actual course, before the hegemonic narratives of media and political structures managed to codify it – predominantly in a retroactive manner – with their own sets of signifiers.
Text: Kaja Kraner