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The Power of the Powerless (2009)

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November 2009 (USA)  »

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Power of the Powerless - a moving tribute to peaceful revolution
20 April 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw this movie at the Boston international film festival and had the pleasure of speaking with the Producer and Director after wards.

Jeremy Irons narrated and his powerful accent and recognizable voice leads weight to the story.

The movie was very well made and tracks the history of the Czechoslovak government post World War II.

It made clever use of archive footage, dramatization with actors and actual interviews with many of the major participants including the first post Communist Czech President and leading dissident playwright Vaclav Havel.

The film is broken down basically by decades.

The 40's post WWII elections won by the communists and eventual communist takeover of government.

The 50's Communist control.

The 60's easing of communist repression of dissident voices followed by the violent Soviet invasion and crackdown in what is known as Prague Spring.

The 70's and the general atmosphere of fear and distrust.

The 80's introduction of 'Glasnost and Perestroika'. Student leaders in the late 80's sought to commemorate the death of a student protester against the Nazi occupation were granted permission by the communists to hold a rally on Nov. 17 1989. The students conspired to lead a march from their designated rally point into the symbolic center of Czech government, Wenceslas square. However, the government learned of the plan and cordoned off the area with special forces and riot police. Cordoned off and surrounded the 80,000 strong students sat and attempted to wait out the police. Unfortunately, the police attacked and in the melee one student died (oh the irony!).

The Czech government, run by aging hardliners, bumbled through the next few days expecting some guidance from Moscow. Moscow was silent on the subject and increasingly massive and peaceful demonstrations which eventually filled the Wenceslas square with 200,000 and later 500,000 demonstrators led to the ultimate collapse of the Communists.

Interviews of the people involved were nicely spaced out throughout the movie helping to fill out the decade by decade time-lines with realism. Emotions of fear, defiance and tearful relief are felt throughout the movie.

A very good film and I recommend it.

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