Polish Film Night: Beats of Freedom


Cracks started appearing in the socialist bloc in the early 1980s in Poland. Continuous economic crises, the rising power of the dissidents movement and long-standing dissatisfaction with the government resulted in strikes. In 1980, led by Lech Wałęsa, the first independent labour union was formed: Solidarity. This soon grew into a social movementinvolving millions of Poles. In addition to demanding better working conditions, they alsodemanded greater reforms and more democracy in society. Before the rise of Solidarity, however, it was musicians who undermined the political order through Western rock music and lyrics critical of the authorities. Beats of Freedom focuses on the relationship between rock music and power.  

The film will be introduced by Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the Republic of Estonia T.E. Hr. Kozłowski.

Beats of Freedom
Documentary, 2010 (75 min)  
Director: Wojciech Słota  
Language: Polish, with English subtitles  


Music and freedom are linked by thousands of stories. This documentary, with its subtitle How to Bring Down a Totalitarian Regime with the Aid of a Home-made Amplifier, summarises the way in which rock music in Poland bolstered the country’s sense of independence from the 1960s to the fall of the Communist regime. British journalist and writer Chris Salewitz goes off in search of various stories: from the first Polish protest songby Czesław Niemen, the court cases against Polish hippies and the onset of the punk rebellion, to the Solidarity years and the state of emergency. 20,000 people descended on the town of Jarocin for the rock festival, the largest of its kind in Eastern Europe, and the Polish government failed to keep the rock scene under control. The film, coming from a country where rock has also been an escape from Catholicism, is full of strong, often absurd tales. The censors branded Maanam’s song lyrics as an allegory of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and banned them. This is a film about music as a bearer of hope, featuring songs by the bands Tilt, Brygada Kryzys, T. Love, Maanam, Kult, Republika, Lady Pank, Izrael, 1984, Siekiera and Dezerter.

The event will be held in English.

The event is free of charge.  

Event in Facebook.

The event is being supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Estonia.

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