Creating provocative theater carries great personal risks: emotional, financial and artistic. For the members of the Belarus Free Theatre, there are additional risks: censorship, imprisonment, and worse. Director Madeleine Sackler goes behind the scenes with the acclaimed troupe of imaginative and subversive performers who, in a desolate country choked by censorship and repression, defy Europe’s last remaining dictatorship. When authorities forbid critical examinations of such topics as sexual orientation, alcoholism, suicide and politics, the Free Theatre responds by injecting these taboos into performances that are staged in underground. And yet, because of the power of their message, they receive critical acclaim overseas.
DANGEROUS ACTS STARRING THE UNSTABLE ELEMENTS OF BELARUS picks up the story in 2010 when the KGB is cracking down on dissenters, sixteen years after Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko takes power during the breakup of the Soviet Union. Now, as a dubious new presidential election looms, the KGB targets the Free Theatre’s founders Nikolai Khalezin and Natalia Koliada who, along with their colleagues, find themselves torn between fighting for their art and for their and their families’ safety.
Comprised of smuggled footage and uncensored interviews, DANGEROUS ACTS gives audiences a front row seat to a resistance movement as it unfolds both on the stage and in the streets. As the members of the Free Theatre confront the choice of either repression at home or exile in the US and the UK, DANGEROUS ACTS reconfirms our belief that the power of art and hope can indeed change the world.
Certificate: tbc Distributor: Dogwoof
Dir. Madeleine Sackler, US | UK | Belarus, 2014, 76 min, Belarusian | English | Russian
Cast: Pavel Gorodnitski, Nikolai Khalezin, Natalia Koliada