- Rot 2019
Czech Republic / USA 2016
Jeffrey Brown, Gary Griffin, Barbara Kopple (executive) for Peligroso Productions
directed by Keith Jones
starring Otto Urban, Ondrej Struma, David Cajthaml, Pavla Jonssonová, Jan Machácek, Jáchym Topol, Václav Havelka, Tomás Vanek, Marcel Hrubý, Veronika Bromová, Josef Bolf, Martin Mulac, Jan Hísek, Jan Kokotek, Michal Parízek, Lubos Merhaut
Available on DVD !
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Back in the 1980s, when the Czech Republic was still part of
Czechoslovakia and under Communist rule, the regime tried to stub out all
influences of Western culture - which only generated a curiosity amongst
the young ones, not so much as a form of political statement, and more as
an expression of their own generation. And thus, vinyl records were
smuggled into Czechoslovakia, of bands and acts like Lou Reed and Velvet
Underground, the Sex Pistols, the Cure - to name just those most
frequently cited in the film, and those so inclined knew were to secretly
buy and trade records - mostly in parks that had sufficient escape routes
-, always on the look-out for the secret and not so secret police, as the
possession of Western records alone could have repercussions already.
Based on the records they got from the West, Czech youngsters would
generate their own underground, forming punk and new wave bands of their
own, with most of them, just like their Western counterparts, quickly
landing on a black list. What started with music soon led to other
artforms and even underground jornalism, and eventually it was this
generation that helped end Communism in their country. And for the next
few years after, the country saw a freedom of the arts as never before,
with yesteryear's underground becoming the new mainstream ... before the
arts, just like in the West, started to adhere to the rules of the market.
the protagonists from back then? Many of them (at least those portrayed in
this movie) have sticked to their roots, are still making music, writing
poems, organizing festivals, or even teaching art at the university
themselves, and still feel the spirit of back when ...
interesting and ultimately also compelling documentary about Western rock
music behind the iron curtain, a subject that doesn't usually get a lot of
attention, and the underground that developed out of it, which is actually
a bit of a revelation to us complacent underground lovers in the West. But
the film approaches its subject matter rather lovingly, with many
interesting interviewees who relate their stories in a very involving way,
with lots of footage from back when, while the story is not told in a
dark, communist-bashing way, but lets one take part in the joie de vivre
the youngsters found back then through the music and the arts.