Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

If the People Will Lead

  • Rating: *****
  • Audience: High School to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $95.00
  • Date: Copyright 1992. Released 1992.
  • Descriptors: Soviet Union - Politics and government. Journalism.
  • Production Information: Live action. Produced by Paul Bonesteel. Color. Also available in 3/4 inch, PAL, SECAM. Hi-fi. Includes Guide. English, Russian. Subtitled. 58 min.
  • Available from: The Video Project 5332 College Ave., Ste. 101 Oakland, CA 94618 (510) 655-9050, (800) 4-PLANET
  • Cataloging: 947.085 Soviet Union - Politics and government - 1985-1991||Glasnost|| Perestroika||Documentary films
  • Print Entry #: 4:1116
  • Reviewer: Judith Gray

    Perestroika and glasnost initiated many changes in the Soviet Union, not the least of which was encouragement of people to speak openly and critically of the government. If the People Will Lead explores the critical role of the media in encouraging the citizens to make their voices heard by government leaders.

    During the early years of perestroika, the government actually encouraged the media to use a more Western approach. Talk shows, interviews, letters to the editors, etc., became a popular part of the Soviet media. The young journalists and producers who spearheaded this movement enjoyed great popularity. Viewers reacted by becoming more openly critical of the old status quo. By the time that conservative elements within the government attempted to restore their power through an attempted coup, the people were confident enough to stage a successful resistance against the military. This video paints a strong picture of the role the media played in this portion of Soviet history.

    The opening and closing sequences use various cutting and overlay effects of video clips to create a strong emotional statement. Interviews, most of them with English-speaking Russians, always identify the person's name as well as job title. Subtitles, used when necessary, are clearly readable. The visuals of city and rural scenes were chosen for their emotional as well as educational impact. The male narrator ties the project together nicely. The entire program is very professionally done.

    This video provides information on some of the changes in the former Soviet Union in the late 1980s that led to the current situation. Of special interest is the potential role of the media in changing any political and social situation. This program could be used as background for studying recent Russian history, and also as a stimulus in a variety of settings for discussing the role of the media. Highly recommended for high school and college libraries, as well as public libraries that support discussion groups.

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