The Singing Revolution



Mountain View Prods.

NEW YORK -- Few true-life tales of nationalist pride are as moving as the one depicted in "The Singing Revolution."

James Tusty and Maureen Castle Tusty's documentary, about the ways in which music played a vital role in helping the small country of Estonia to throw off the yoke of Soviet oppression, presents a feel-good tale that is almost hard to believe. The film, narrated by Linda Hunt, is playing at New York's Village East Cinema.

For most of the 20th century, Estonia has been dominated by the Soviet Union, with the exception of a period during World War II in which it suffered invasion by the Nazis. Becoming a Soviet satellite country after the war, it eventually declared its independence in 1991, beginning a wave that ultimately would herald the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

That spirit of resistance is exemplified by the Laulupido Song Festival, founded in 1869. During the 1969 edition, about 30,000 singers gathered together to sing "Land of My Fathers, Land That I Love," which, like all nationalistic songs, had been banned by the Soviets.

The film provides a detailed narrative of the events that have overtaken the country in the past century and the ways in which music helped fuel its struggle for independence. Using copious amounts of fascinating archival footage as well as extensive interviews with numerous figures associated with the movement, it provides an uplifting depiction of vitally important political ends achieved via nonviolent means.