Ada Raichonak and her husband Aleh are an aged couple of farmers. Most of their neighbors are still forced to work in kolkhoz. But the life of farmers in Belarus is not much easier. Working hard at the farm, Ada founded an art gallery in her village and organizes summer art workshops for painters who come from all over the country. The film will tell about collisions between the artists who hate authoritarian regime which makes Belarus the "last dictatorship in Europe", the peasants who are influenced by populist propaganda of the authorities and Ada who tries to reconcile all of them with the help of the 'magic power of art…' The village of Germanovichy is situated in a very beautiful place, but it seems that the atmosphere there is saturated with spite, aggression and despair. Like in 19 th century the people live mostly in old wooden houses without running water. They use horses for transportation and for cultivation their small pieces of land. There is no private property for land and people are forced to work in kolkhozes. Those who are trying to organize the farmer business are treated badly by the authorities. The life of both farmers and kolkhoz workers is very hard. More and more people die of alcoholism. But there are people who don’t give up. Our film will tell about Ada Rajchonak, the wife of farmer Aleg, who is trying, in defiance of the authorities, to show the beauty of Art to her neighbors, to tell them about the history of their land, to organize them to vote for democratic changes during the elections.
Crisis in Paradise
Martin van Den Broek was Philips manager in Belarus in early 1990-ies, just after Perestroika. He met a group of young artists there who became his friends. Later they had to move to Western Europe. Martin organized the meeting with his friends in Holland to talk about art, history and issues connected with Belarus which are still current.
Is there possibility for the representatives of religions and peoples, who are in conflict or in war today, to hear and to understand each other, to find a way to the mutual understanding and to the common values, which can unite them, instead of dividing them? Historical experience prompts that the positive answer to such a question can sound rather as utopia. Jews and Arabs, Moslems and Christians, Bosnians and Serbians, Azerbaijanians and Armenians are peacefully coexisting there and even are being friends. All world problems are being wisely solved there, and the difference between the languages, religious traditions and national cultures are being treated as main value and wealth, which the human civilization created. They are the students of the United World Colleges (UWC), unique educational institutions, in each of which representatives of more than 100 countries of the world study. The first college have been founded in Wales in the 60's of the past century. On the example of this humanity in the miniature we will try to understand the nature of the interrelations of the representatives of the most different traditions and cultures. Our film will consist of a number of the short stories, which tell about the dramatic collisions, happening with the students of the colleges. We should not forget that all this happened in the dramatic time, in the atmosphere of mutual hatred of both peoples. And it required the manifestation of true courage and generosity from the participants of these stories. Is there a hope that this model of idealistic relations between people could be transferred to the whole world, or it is only an amusement of idealists? During the time of its existence UWCs issued a several thousands’ team of graduates, they are keeping now key positions in the governments of their countries. We will meet some of them to know how the values which they adopted in UWCs influence on their life, to know if it could become our common values.
Vice-mayor of Gdansk Maciej Lisicki found his first postcard with a view of pre-revolutionary Minsk among endless antiquarian stands of the famous Dominican Fair. Mr. Lisicki’s grandfather was a switch-man at the Minsk railway and was executed in times of Stalin repressions. His father in 1945, immediately after the war, risking his life crossed the Soviet border and got to Gdansk. Still the links between Minsk and Gdansk had existed much earlier. Here Mr. Lisicki shows, for example, a postcard which was sent from Minsk to Gdansk as early as 1909 and thus is a symbol linking two dear to his heart cities. Gdansk occupies an equal place in Mr. Lisicki’s heart. He donated to the History Museum of Gdansk a French newspaper with the Should the French die for Gdansk? Today this question sounds like a bitter recollection for those, who are trying to live for themselves, ignoring someone else's problems in different parts of European continent. And Mr. Lisicki cannot feel indifferent about the fact that the regime, which is called “Last dictatorship of Europe”, still reigns in Minsk. Thanks to his efforts for seven years Gdansk is giving shelter to the teachers and students of Humanities Lyceum from Minsk, which had been closed by Belarusian authorities for the democratic standards of its educational approach.