A Lesson of Belarusian

  • Miroslaw Dembinski
  • Poland
  • 2006
  • 51 min
  • Panorama
Franek Viacorka introduces himself in voice-over, accompanied by black-and-white images. He was born in Belarus in 1988, three years before the Soviet Union collapsed. In 2004, the antinationalist and dictatorial Aleksandr Lukashenko took the helm of the country. Franek's father established a nationalist lyceum that was forced shut in 2001, an event that was captured on film. In the process, Franek's father went to prison. Next, the picture turns to colour and it is 2006. Franek is now a political activist, just like his classmates at the now underground lyceum. Together with his friends, he distributes political newspapers and pamphlets. They record idealistically inspired music in a simple sound studio and film a 1984-like music video in a deserted building - until the police send them away. They film all their acts of resistance, which are incorporated into the documentary in the fast-paced montage. The young activists' enthusiasm gives the documentary a hopeful, sometimes even cheerful air, but always against the background of threatening arrests. This comes to a head in the build-up to the presidential elections of March 2006, when they side with the powerless opposition candidate Milinkievic during demonstrations on Minsk's main square. They sleep in tents, sing songs and face snow showers, but in the end they are forcefully driven away by the riot police.

Credits

  • 51 min
  • color
  • video
  • Spoken languages: Belarusian
  • Subtitles in: English
Director
Miroslaw Dembinski
Production
Miroslaw Dembinski for Film Studio Everest
Co-production
TVP 2
Cinematography
Maciej Szafnicki, Michal Slusarczyk
Editing
Miroslaw Dembinski

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