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Bringing Down a Dictator
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"...a good short primer...as the narrator, Martin Sheen, says in a compelling concluding segment, Otpor's success suggests that oppressive leaders can best be toppled not by outside military force, but by grassroots movements from within." --Neil Genzlinger, New York Times
"A priceless history lesson...Dictator succeeds most intriguingly as a how-to manual for revolution via civil disobedience. Grade A." --Entertainment Weekly
"...remarkable and inspiring....a fascinating window on a revolution that was given limited coverage by America's 24-hour news services." --Kevin McDonough, United Feature
About the Director
Steve York is a veteran documentary filmmaker who has worked in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America on subjects ranging from religious fundamentalism to American history to nonviolent conflict. Bringing Down a Dictator is York's second documentary about successful nonviolent movements. His first, A Force More Powerful, an in-depth examination of the history of nonviolent conflict, played in film festivals in 1999 and then was broadcast on national public television and nominated for an Emmy. Bringing Down a Dictator won the coveted George Foster Peabody award in 2003. Like A Force More Powerful, Dictator has been translated into some ten languages and distributed around the world. York's third film, Orange Revolution, chronicles 17 days in the Ukraine when a group of ordinary citizens engaged in extraordinary acts of political protest. Capturing the songs and spirit of this moment in history, Orange Revolution tells the story of a people united, not by one leader or one party, but by one idea: to defend their vote.
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While set in a different region, this film can be an informative comparative case when studying recent nonviolent uprisings in the Middle East.
I remember sponsoring a campus-wide screening of Bringing Down a Dictator, and students were so engaged that in the packed room those on the back row sat on the backs of their chairs for the entire film to ensure that they didn't miss anything. In classes, the film never fails to provoke excellent discussion.