Up to 1940-s the island Mantsinsari belonged to Finland, in 1944 it joined Karelia. At that time all the Finns and Karelians went to Finland. And the island was settled by special people who didn‘t fulfil their work quota, frankly speaking – the enemies of the system – the Russians, the Belarusians, the Ukrainians, the Tatars, the Estonians, and simply employers on a contract. About 1500 people came; later on many of the island new involuntary settlers would never forgive this place for their broken destinies, after all. And when Khruschev became the leader – former enemies with their families were impetuously leaving their prison on the water. The people rushed home to their native land, just like flocks of birds after long and tiring wintering in a strange land. They left their lived-in places, their ecologically clean property and historical sightseeing – Finnish military objects of the beginning of the century. In time some died, some left. Only two have stayed – a Finn and a Belarusian – two Robinsons of Mantsinsari.
Belarus seems to be the only country in Europe where the state authorities have switched to the Soviet past again. After a short period of liberal changes, the society has been directed to a non-civilized mode of development. Belarusian journalists have sensed all the methods the authoritarian regime can use. Their publications were closed and professions were forbidden for them, their colleagues disappeared, they themselves were put into a jail. And they were tempted as well. Few of them have managed to stand this ordeal. Freedom of speech, its ideals were real not long ago, but now they have become dangerous to one's professional activities, to family and life. This film is a look at various Belarusian journalists to see how they make their choices. We must see the importance of being earnest in the times when the social and economic structures are changing. This choice between conscience and temptation, between fear and dignity turns out to be too difficult. The film contains the facts only. These are the facts of struggle between freedom and slavery. These facts make up the picture of morale existing in a state that is called the last dictatorship in Europe.
Cinema & Cutlets
The core of the film is a life story of a famous Belarusian filmmaker Yury Khashchevatsky - a sharp opponent of the Lukashenko regime. He was born just after WWII in Odessa in a Jewish family. The knowing master tells about his love to the cinematography, about the time he lives in, about how he learns and sees the contemporary life, dramatic and sometimes tragic destiny of today's Belarus. However there's a thread of Jewish humor, energy, optimism throughout the film.
Film personages are uncompromisingly opposite to the Belarusian political regime.The film is about the fates of opposition politics that were put in jail for political reasons for many years; about the young people dedicated to opposition activity. They organize protest actions which they are cruelly beaten and put in jail for. But the main thing is that all personages and their relatives don’t give way to despair and don’t give up in their struggle for freedom and democracy in their country.
A Murder on the Eve of Spring
A 33-year-old human rights activist Jana Polyakova has committed suicide in the provincial mining town. The local authorities through the power structures and the KGB systematically pursued a lonely young woman for her active opposition of civil and political activities. They used all the most sophisticated mocking methods including psychological pressure, provocation, and, finally, torture and beatings. Moreover, driven to despair a woman was convicted of defamation of the police officer who brutally beat her, with the payment of a huge monetary compensation in his favor. Unable to withstand such injustice and cynicism, the woman brought the scores to life…
A Journey Through an Endless War
A businessman Nikolay Avtuhovich declared war to local corrupt officials. The struggle brought him to the very top. The authorities arranged an indicative process against a civil society. They have fabricated a criminal case against the fair businessman. This case was taken to the Supreme Court of Belarus. The public prosecutor demanded 20 years of prison for the condemned Nikolay. The Belarussian civil society activists still continue with the mass struggle for Nikolay Avtuhovich’s liberation by risking their own freedom. Nikolay Avtuhovich and his companions are recognized as the Prisoners of Conscience.
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.
Aleinaya str. 15-2