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Rockin' the Wall

When the Berlin Wall went up in 1960, it became the worldwide symbol of communist oppression. While the Wall kept people in, it could not keep Western influences like rock music out. Through Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, rock music penetrated the Iron Curtain with messages of freedom and rebellion. This film presents the history of the Berlin Wall through the experiences of well-known rock musicians and those who lived behind the wall. Among the rock musicians featured are Robby Krieger (The Doors), Mark Stein and Vinny Martell (Vanilla Fudge), Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot), David Paich (Toto), Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets), and the group Mother's Finest who played in East Berlin just weeks before the Wall fell. People who lived behind the Iron Curtain in several countries describe what their lives were like and how rock music provided them an important lifeline and inspiration, giving them hope and exposing the short-comings of the communist system. The film includes historical footage of the famous speeches at the Berlin Wall by Presidents Ronald Reagan and John Kennedy, as well as interviews with former government officials and with European rocker Leslie Mandoki who recalls being visited by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to discuss the power of music. Based on the book Seven events that made America, America by Larry Schweikart. Directed by Marc Leif. Dist.: The Video Project. 83 min. 2010.

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