The Czech Republic
Agora Productions first of six films in the series, The Power of the Powerless, examines the struggle for emancipation in communist Czechoslovakia, focusing on the role of dissidents between 1968 and 1989. The film investigates what life was like for this blacklisted minority, in contrast to the privileged lives of communist rulers and the vast majority of citizens who occupied the so-called grey zone between dissent and “collaboration.” We assess the cumulative impact dissidents had on Czechoslovak society and their young protégés who ultimately provided the spark which ignited the Velvet Revolution in autumn 1989. The film revisits the dramatic days in November which brought an inspired end to communist tyranny in Prague, and catapulted an outlaw playwright into the presidency.
Finally, in a search for the heirs to the legacy of anti-communist dissent, the film uncovers alarming links between the attitudes and choices of parents living under communist dictatorship, on the one hand, and the disposition of their children who are now young adults, on the other. More broadly, we seek answers to a range of vital questions, including:
Do the values and principles for which dissidents sacrificed so much still resonate in Czech society?
How do Czechs perceive their freedom nearly 20 years after the Velvet Revolution? Do they take liberty and democracy for granted?
How do young people today view Václav Havel and his legacy of peaceful resistance? Who are their role models?
How do young Czechs deal with the responsibility of making life choices in a free society?
By exposing audiences to the experiences of former dissidents, The Power of The Powerless will encourage young people to believe in their own power to change society for the better – through individual efforts, collective action, and loyalty to one’s convictions.