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Eastern Europe History & Politics

Chernobyl: The Taste of Wormwood.

A Japanese documentary about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster which includes on-site photography of the blast site and of people and areas affected. Also included are interviews with victims, bystanders, medical personnel who treated burn victims, physicists, and politicians. 1987. 52 min. [preservation copy]

Children Underground

Documentary on a year in the lives of five homeless Romanian children who make their home in a subway station in Bucharest. Begging on the streets, drug addicted, and painfully unaware of the cruel horrors of their soul-crushing existence, the story unfolds to reveal their harrowing day-to-day struggle for survival. Bonus features: Filmmaker statement, "Where are they now" updates, filmmaker and additional crew biographies, resource links.Produced and directed by Edet Belzberg. 2001. 104 min.

Citizen Vaclav Havel Goes on Vacation.

Before he became president of the Czech Republic after the Velvet Revolution, Vaclav Havel -- playwright, essayist, intellectual -- was a leading dissident, repeatedly jailed by the Communist government. This documentary recreates a little-known episode in the Czechoslovakian dissident's life when he decided to test the boundaries of his totalitarian state by taking an extended vacation, visiting friends all over the country. Written and directed by Jan Novak, Adam Novak. 2006. 77 min.

Class Lot

A film by Peter Forgacs. Filmed from 1946-1971, continues the history of the Hungarian Jewish family of businessman and musician Gyorgy Peto introduced in the film "Free fall." After World War II Gyorgy returns from captivity in Russia and his daughter is born. He continues to manage the family bank until 1949, date of the first nationalizations, and then finds employment in a national orchestra.

Coming Apart (Inside Gorbachev's USSR; 4).

Reveals the growing unrest of ethnic groups in the Soviet republics, where central control is being challenged with resurgence of religious movements, ethnic rivalries and demands for independence. 58 min.

Comrades (Tovarishchi).

Soviet life and culture are presented through explorations of the lives of particular people in widely differing economic, geographic, and social situations. 58 min each. 1986. Comrades: The Education of Rita. This episode details the life and studies of Rita Tikhonova, a 21-year-old Moscovite finishing her studies at a prestigious Moscow University. The program follows Rita through her final days at the Institute to her oral exams and her first teaching job. [preservation copy] Comrades: Hunter and Son.


Presents views of the natural and cultural wonders of recently-independent Croatia. 1997. 45 min.

Czech Dream (Cesky sen)

Documents the largest consumer hoax the Czech Republic has ever seen. Filip Remunda and Vit Klusack, two of Eastern Europe's most promising young documentary filmmakers, set out to explore the psychological and manipulative powers of consumerism by creating an ad campaign for a super store that didn't exist. The advertising campaign includes radio and television ads, posters, flyers with photos of fake Czech Dream products, a promotional song, an internet site, and ads in newspapers and magazines. Will people believe in it and show up for the grand opening?


Describes daily life in Kyrgyzstan as experienced by Peace Corps volunteers who live and work there. Areas visited include the southwestern city of Jalal-Abad in the Fergana Valley, the capital city of Sokuluk in the Tien Shan Mountains, and the town of Naryn in southeastern Kyrgyzstan. 22 min.


Describes the history and culture of Lithuania and the economic and political changes that have occurred since Lithuania gained freedom from the Soviet Union. Lithuanian children and Peace Corps workers describe their lifestyles and experiences. 21 min.