by Illume Ltd., Finland
receiving the Special Award for Discourse and Politics
Laudator: by Mike Dawney
A documentary on the everyday work of politicians in a coalition government in a complex environment of different interests
Coalition governments have long been part of the political landscape of European countries and, indeed are an essential part of the working of the European Parliament. In some countries, this system is so well established that the negotiations required to form and implement policy are fairly routine. For others, including, now, the UK, this kind of politics is unusual and requires some rethinking of the ways in which political decision making can take place. In either case, the perceptions of the political process become simplified in most media discourses of politics to obliterate the complexity of the processes through which government actually takes place. In particular, it is rare to see insights into the ways in which differing interests – not just those of the political parties and their explicit policy positions, but also their constituents, interest groups, lobbyists and so on, are represented and feed into the political process.
This admirable documentary achieves just this. In a classic documentary style, enlivened by dramatic touches and genre cross-references, the film follows politicians from the various political parties and other interested groups in detailed discussion of a specific policy proposal – that of increases to fees charged to users of health and social services. While this is an issue of particular interest to Finnish viewers, both the theme of charging or increasing charges for welfare provision and the demonstration of the interactions between the politicians from different parties and the treatment of lobbyists and representatives of the client/patient groups has resonance for all European countries. In particular, the subtle revelation of the domination of the political/economic machinary over social equity issues is well displayed without polemic. The voices are allowed to speak for themselves.
The jury is delighted to make the Special Award for Discourse and Politics to Illume productions of Helsinki for Liikkumuvara/ Within Limits and to Director Annika Grof and Producer Pertti Veijalainen.