The Singing Revolution (2007)
After enduring WWII-era brutalization by Hitler's Nazi Party and decades of repressive Soviet dictatorship, the tiny Eastern European nation of Estonia began to declare its independence from Communist rule in the late '80s. Over a five-year period, beginning in 1986, hundreds of thousands of Estonians began to systematically and repeatedly gather in public venues to collectively sing illegal patriotic songs, declaring their desire for national independence but never resorting to violence amid their protests. It was no coincidence that Estonia subsequently became one of the first nations to break away from the Soviet Union in the events leading up to the fall of the Iron Curtain. The documentary The Singing Revolution chronicles this extraordinary yet seldom-told chain of events. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for The Singing Revolution
One of the most inspirational and powerful documentaries I've ever seen.
a film that joyfully celebrates the power of the human spirit in all its glory.
Fortunately, the interview subjects (who include festival performers and current and former Estonian leaders) are very intelligent and well-spoken. Their stories are what really holds out interest here.
If The Singing Revolution were a fictional film it would be dismissed as a pie-in-the-sky fantasy. But it's all true.
Folk songs can be plenty inspirational, but like this movie, they just aren't all that exciting.
'Nonstop Estonian folk music' might not be a great format for a radio station, but it sure works for The Singing Revolution.
Although filmmakers James and Maureen Castle Tusty haven't figured out how to make historic tidbits come alive, they do know how to make them sing.
Effectively chronicles in a thumbnail sketch the blustery recent political 20th-century history of Estonia.
Full of the kind of collective passion and struggle and yearning for freedom that makes viewers well up with pride at their shared humanity.
Booster-ish, with only former participants in the struggle and activists interviewed. There's a you-must-feel-good thrust (and an incessant score). Warbles a familiar tune to Estonians, presumably, and doesn't offer enough rich notes for an outsider.
This fine and surprising documentary asks an even more challenging question: Can music promote nonviolence, prevent bloodshed and successfully overthrow an oppressive regime? Again -- astonishingly -- the answer is 'yes.'
The thrill of this documentary is in the remarkable story of the Little Country That Could.
As far as the plot goes, widespread lack of familiarity with Estonia's recent history actually works in the film's favor: Suspense born of ignorance lends the unfolding drama the urgency of a political thriller.
The Singing Revolution is the sort of film that should be shown to North American school children or anyone else who takes his freedom for granted.
Patience may not the most exciting movie subject, but The Singing Revolution is, in its deceptively mild way, inspiring.
It's a powerful story of a nation that, almost literally, sang its way to freedom.
What makes the film unique is its intermittent focus on one of the country's cultural touchstones: a song festival called Laulupidu, and its role in bringing freedom to a repressed but restless people after a half-century.
The Singing Revolution becomes a tense political thriller that culminates in one of the most significant events of past century: The collapse of the Soviet Union.
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