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Eastern Europe History & Politics


During the early 1980's, Czech filmmaker Jana Sevikova spent several years documenting the daily lives and customs of an ethnic group of Czechs living near Timisoara, Romania. The social and work customs of these individuals are much like those of their ancestors who settled in the Romanian highlands over 150 years ago. In returning to the village in 1992, the filmmaker found that little had changed despite the fall of communism. Written and directed by Jana Sevcikova. 1992. 43 min.

Poland: We've Caught God by the Arm. (Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict)

In August, 1980, workers at the Gdansk shipyard went on strike. Lech Walesa was the chief negotiator for the workers, who avoided the mistakes of earlier strikes by maintaining strict nonviolent discipline--and by occupying their shipyard, to deter a violent crackdown by authorities.

Porraimos: Europe's Gypsies in the Holocaust

Chronicles the Roma (Gypsy) Holocaust--Porraimos, or "the devouring" which shows how the pseudo-science of eugenics was used to persecute not only Jews, but also Gypsies. Using interviews with Austrian, Czech and German Gypsy survivors, as well as photographs and films from the Reich Department of Racial Hygiene, this film reveals the oppression of the gypsies -- their registration and segregation, their sterilization, the medical experiments and eventual murder. Dist. Cinema Guild. 2002. 57 min.
See also:

Portraits of the Soul

In 1991, the photo-journalist Sandra Balsells arrived in Yugoslavia to report on the war. She was travelling with her partner, the photojournalist Paul Jenks. But in 1992, he was assassinated in Croatia. From that moment, Sandra's destiny became linked with that of Yugoslavia in the grief caused by a war of which she was no longer merely an observer. The results of her work were compiled in the book Balkan, in Memoriam.

Post-War Hopes, Cold War Fears (A Walk Through the 20th Century with Bill Moyers).

Describes life in America after World War II, a time of rash optimism and neuroses. While the dollar was strong and everyday life improved, the 1950's also saw the lowering of the Iron Curtain, the loss of China to Communism, the Korean War and the Red Scare.

Postcards from Peje (Kartoline nga Peja)

A video produced by a group of ethnic Albanian teenagers in the Kosovarian city of Peje during the summer of 2000. This is their own poignant story of what happened to them and their families during and after the war. A production of the Witness Project which uses video technology to investigate human rights abuses. 2001. 16 min. web web sites:Witness web site

Power in the Kremlin.

The United States and the western alliance. The problem of international debt (Conversations; 64-66).

Power Trip.

Documentary on the clash of cultures when an American energy company, struggling against an environment of corruption, assassination, and street rioting in Tblisi, tries to turn the state owned electricity company into a private business where users will have to pay for electricity. Directed, edited, & produced by Paul Devlin. 2003. 85 min.

Prague Skinheads

Segment one gives excerpts from videos by SAGA, a Sarajevo-based group of filmmakers, from inside the besieged Bosnian capital. The second segment examines ethnic hatred and extreme nationalism in the Czech Republic where neo-Nazi ideas are winning adherents among the young. The final segment reports on the Eyes of the Earth Project which distributes cameras to human rights activists for the documentation of human rights abuses. Segment from the television program Rights & wrongs. Broadcast September 8, 1993. 27 min.

Prague Spring

In 1968 Alexander Dubcek's attempt to liberalize Communist rule in Czechoslovakia and to create "socialism with a human face" resulted in Soviet tanks in the streets of Prague. This program presents both the political detente behind Brezhnev's position and the dissent that was silenced within the Warsaw Pact alliance. Extensive archival footage and contemporary interviews provide insights that reveal the dissent within the Eastern Bloc countries in the 1960's. 29 min.