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August 2014
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BEATS OF FREEDOM
or how to overthrow a totalitarian regime with home-made amplifier

Beats of Freedom is a story about Polish rock music and independence. Narrated by a well known British writer and journalist, Chris Salewicz, this documentary film is a journey through three decades of Polish rock. Chris meets with legends of the Polish music scene and shows us unique footage of their first concerts as well as archives of Polish history under communism.

This is a film about the music that not only brought literal "beats of freedom" to the people, but that was one domain of Polish cultural life that had a little more independence.

The Iron Curtain was not as impermeable as it may have seemed; western music was available in Poland; and sometimes even big stars visited the country, the outstanding example being The Rolling Stones' visit in April 1967. Those two legendary concerts had a huge impact on Polish rock music. Both took place in Warsaw's Congress Hall, located in The Palace of Culture and Science - a gift from Soviet Union to the people of Poland. Paradoxically, this hated symbol of communist power became an important testimony to the history of Polish rock'n'roll.

The film's narration makes it an interesting and entertaining documentary. Chris Salewicz meets Tomek Lipinski (lead singer of the bands Tilt and Brygada Kryzys), Piotr Naglowski (manager and journalist), and Mirek Makowski (photographer and historian). Their stories are not only about the meaning of the music, but also about Polish life under the communist regime. Sometimes those stories are heart breaking, and sometimes they tell of undying hope.

The film includes several very colorful passages about the music festival in Jarocin - the only such place in the entire communist bloc, a rare enclave of freedom in those times - as well as staggering archival material about Poland under Martial law. Most important, however, is the music itself.

BEATS OF FREEDOM
or how to overthrow a totalitarian regime with home-made amplifier

Film coproduced by Adam Mickiewicz Institute
Written and Directed by: Leszek Gnoinski and Wojciech Slota
Produced by: Pawel Potoroczyn, Edward Miszczak
Executive producer: Judyta Fibiger
runtime: 75 minutes