Live: Debate: Didn’t the Velvet Revolution start in Prague?

Live: Debate: Didn’t the Velvet Revolution start in Prague?
Live: Debate: Didn’t the Velvet Revolution start in Prague?

Commercial presentation Issued by: 7/11/2023, 06:00

On Tuesday, November 7, 2023, there will be a debate for pupils and students in Prague under the banner of the People in Need organization Stories of Injustice project.

The broadcast of the debate in the Press Center of the Czech Press Office will begin at 10:00 a.m.

The debate will be thematically related to the specific punk in northern Bohemia, the local alternative culture and the state of the environment at the time, which led to demonstrations and subsequent political protests. Miroslav Wanek, a witness of these events, historian Michal Louč and Karel Strachota, director of the film 1989: We Want to Breathe, which deals with the topic, will be guests of the debate. The debate will be conducted by Czech Radio presenter Karolína Koubová.

Teplice during the period of so-called normalization. The once beautiful spa town, nicknamed Little Paris, is devastated, as is the entire northwestern industrial borderland. They are often shrouded in thick smog, in which you cannot see even two meters away. The story of the protagonists of the film 1989: We want to breathe Pavel and Renata takes place mainly in Teplice. They want to live freely, in accordance with their ideals. However, their lives are constantly interfered with by the repressive communist regime, for whom they represent “defective youth”.

Karel Strachota’s new film is based on archival footage and period materials documenting everyday life at the time. It is a mosaic of authentic situations and events, the main protagonists have real images. The film culminates with the demonstrations that began in Teplice a week before November 17, 1989 due to catastrophic environmental pollution, and which subsequently turned into political protests. The November revolution began in the north: people wanted to breathe. “The film takes place in the 1980s and mainly deals with two themes: independent culture and the state of the environment. I had both in my head for a long time and was looking for a way to grasp them. Northern Bohemia was ultimately a logical choice. In the north, people were suffocating, smog and inversions were literally killing them. And Teplice’s specific punk and local alternative culture are legendary. A great inspiration for the film was the story of my long-time friend, whose fate forms the basis of the film’s narrative. I also projected a lot of my own experiences into the film,” says Karel Strachota, director of the Tales of Injustice project.

The debate is intended primarily for 2nd grade elementary school students and high school students and takes place as part of the 19th annual School Film Month. The recording of the debate will be available on the JSNS.CZ portal, as well as the film 1989: We Want to Breathe, which is related to the debate.


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