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Bringing Down a Dictator 2001

Recommended

Distributed by Films Media Group, PO Box 2053, Princeton, New Jersey 08543-2053; 800-257-5126
Produced by Steve York
Directed by Steve York
VHS, color, 88 min.



Jr. High - Adult
European Studies, Political Science

Date Entered: 11/09/2018

Reviewed by Michael Fein, Coordinator of Library Services, Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg, VA

This video takes a look at the grassroots movement which was the catalyst to the resistance that brought down Serbian/Yugoslavian dictator Slobodan Milosevic. The group was called “Otpor!” (Serbian for “Resistance”) and arose amongst younger people and students. Through 2000 the group gained widespread popularity until Milosevic gave up power in October 2000. The group used “non-violent” means of resistance, and although their effect on the downfall of Milosevic cannot be underestimated, the film does not address in depth the widespread dissatisfaction with the regime that came about because of its economic policies. Also, although the story does describe some of the NATO bombing campaign in 1999, this use of violence helped to undercut the support for Milosevic. Martin Sheen narrates the story, which is told chronologically, for the most part, from the 1999 bombings through the March on Belgrade in October 2000. We are shown scenes in Serbia, activities of the resistance, the election campaign of 2000, and finally the March on Belgrade after the elections that brought down the dictator. Interspersed are interviews with various Serbian and American actors in this drama. Sheen also has concluding remarks that seem to imply that violent resistance is never worthwhile. Technically this is an excellent production. This documentary will be a good starting point to discuss the events of 2000 in Serbia for Junior High audiences and older. However, any instruction should include more than this production.