Love, tolerance and creative freedom aren’t just for fairy tales.
Directed and written by James Dean Le Sueur
From THE Boston Globe:
"As James Dean Le Sueur shows in 'The Art of Dissent,” his brisk account of 50 years of Czech history, the resistance was down but not out. An underground army of writers, academics, musicians, and other intellectuals sustained it, chief among them the internationally renowned playwright Václav Havel. He used his celebrity status to support and protect those who were persecuted and jailed.
But it was not enough clout to spare himself; he, too, was harassed by police and imprisoned. Nonetheless, Havel and his movement endured until they were able to launch the Velvet Revolution, in 1989. In 1990 as the Soviet empire crumbled and the Czech communist party was dissolved, Havel was elected president of a free, democratic Czechoslovakia.
Le Sueur relates with clarity and concision this chaotic era with interviews and rare archival footage, including clips from covert documentaries and film coverage of the invasion."
From RESPEKT in Prague:
"A remarkably apt analysis of the emergence, tribulation and final victory of our dissent.... At the same time, James Dean Le Sueur deliberately follows a musical thread. After all, had it not been for the Plastic People of the Universe, whose natural desire to play music their way had been defended by Havel since the late 70s, Czechoslovak dissent would never have been as colorful: the expelled professors and priests or forbidden authors found themselves on the same ship with musicians whose music would have been too daring even for the ‘moody bluesmen'."
"The Art of Dissent" is feature documentary that celebrates the power of artistic engagement in Czechoslovakia before and after the 1968 Soviet-led invasion. The documentary’s main protagonists – Václav Havel, banned singer Marta Kubišová, and the underground rock group the Plastic People of the Universe – became the most recognizable dissidents during the 1970-80s. Havel fused literary, rock n’ roll, political, and philosophical worlds into a hybrid network that eventually toppled the totalitarian regime.
Our film celebrates the power and courage of dissent to build tolerance, truth, and civil society.
A co-production of NUtech Ventures in at the University of Nebraska and Czech TV in Prague, "The Art of Dissent" combines rare archival footage with interviews filmed over three years in the Czech Republic, England, and the United States. Production began with producer, Mariana Čapková and second camerawoman Susan Pahlke, and Martin Bouda (Czech TV film archivist). Alena Jirásek (Australian-based researcher and translator) and Ivana Jirásek (research) joined the team in May 2018.
The movie was produced by FRMOL Productions in Prague, where David Hanzal is the main producer and where David Hanzal and Vítek Bělohradský were the Czech Executive Producers. American Executive Producers are Arpi Siyahian and Brad Roth at NUtech Ventures. James Le Sueur main producer throughout the development and production with his company, Fox Hollow Films in Lincoln, Nebraska.
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IMBb @ imdb.com/title/tt11907874/reference