Viva Belarus! (2012, 110 min, english subtitles) by Krzysztof Lukaszewicz
AntiNote: Link to the full movie with English subtitles at the bottom of the page, as well as an interview with Franak Viacorka, on whose experience the film is inspired and loosely based!
This movie is the first independent film about present-day Belarus, an obscure and often misunderstood country in the middle of Europe. Belarus has been ruled for twenty years by “the last dictator of Europe,” Alexander Lukashenko, who has driven his country into isolation and decay. However, a vibrant artistic and cultural life finds its way past censorship, totalitarian control and general apathy to produce little gems like “Viva Belarus”.
The storyline follows the coming of age of a young musician, Miron. Miron, through a series of life-changing events, gets involved in the opposition movement and takes a stand against the oppressive regime. He starts as an ordinary rock singer, playing with his band in various bars in the capital city, Minsk. However, soon enough his attitude, music and texts attract the attention of the Belarussian KGB. Miron is promptly sent to serve in the army where he can taste all the “pleasures” of post-soviet discipline: humiliation, beatings, forced labour, absence of privacy, lack of humane conditions. But it only pushes Miron further into resistance. With the help of his friends, he creates a blog to mock the army and Lukashenko’s regime. His “insider” messages from the barracks enflame Belarussian society and soon a movement of opposition gains force.
Just by speaking Belarussian, people make a statement that they are opposed to the regime. It’s the first movie about modern Belarus in the Belarussian language. I hope the film will open the eyes of the world to this country. – Franak Viacorka
The movie touches different subjects that are still a sad reality in Belarus: secret police services, electoral fraud, the Chernobyl explosion and its consequences, a repressive army, etc. At the same time it gives hope for the future. In the end of the movie, a freedom movement born in the social networks, finds its way to the streets. The acting is sometimes a bit naïve and the storyline quite straightforward, but the film is powerful in its veracity. It has become today an inspiration for many young Belarussians. Great music is also an essential component of the movie.
The story is based on true events.
The movie is of course banned in its own country.
Maybe it’s hard to believe, but this is really what it looks like in Belarus now. It’s the rebirth of the Soviet Union. We want people in Europe and America to see that in the 21st century there is a country in Europe where people are treated the same as in Stalin’s time. – Franak Viacorka
Gripping interview with Franak Viacorka, on whose story the movie is loosely based: http://www.rferl.org/content/franak-viacorka-viva-belarus/24925295.html
Full Movie with english subtitles: