CATEGORIES

CATEGORY

REBELS WITH A CAUSE


The boundary between artists and activists is getting more and more blurred. The more absurd the dictatorships and aggressive the repression, the more creative the opposition when it comes to subversive action. The classic formulas are inefficient: we need to be shocked; we need performances that smell like scandal, attacks with excentric means. Art and revolt come together in the street, after setting a time and a place online, through social networks. Three powerful films from the former Soviet space draw three portraits of unconventional anti-totalitarian activism: Pussy Riot from Russia, Femen from the Ukraine and the Free Theater from Belarus. In the Czech Republic, where things are more settled and freer, the activists are quieter and use the law to fight against the authorities (Byeway). But even here, the majority is more outraged by the activists than by government-imposed crooked rules. Majorities are annoyed by shocking apparitions, which disrupt the generally accepted order and “hinder progess”. In Romania, the Roșia Montană phenomenon is also connected to the idea of progress: the activists are trying to stop a project that would allegendly bring civilization and jobs to a community. Two local films complete the picture of contemporary activism (Where Are You, Bucharest? and Romanian Autumn). The very existence of these two films is a sign that Romanian documentary is starting to direct its gaze towards the street; their authors don’t just observe from afar, they take part at the protests.

A special place in our section is filled by the lawyer trying to introduce the word genocide in international treaties, so that these crimes can later be punished (Watchers of the Sky). This time, the fight is against world bureaucracy and is carried forward by a different sort of rebels. Nevertheless, just like the others, they cannot win until they have found a definition, a concept, a representation. Rebellion has become an art. The rebels’ tribe gets creative on the whole planet. (A S)

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