Three film screenings were held at the Shalom Aleichem School with students from the 8th through the 12th grade in June.
On 3 June, the 10th graders watched the documentary-animated film “Delta Zoo/ Spec-žvėrynas”. In the 1990s every boy around the world watched VHS karate action films and wanted to be a super here. The fight for Lithuanian independence in 1991 gave a group of young men a chance to do just this. The story of young recruits was absolutely new to the students and they were wondering how and how much they themselves would be committed compared to those idealistic and somewhat simplistic, over-masculine (in present perspective) recruits. The discussion led to the general role of the army and defenders in a democratic society.
On 8 June, the film “When We Talk About KGB/Aš už tave pakalbėsiu” was presented to 11th and 12th graders. The film depicts the Stories from Lithuania’s largely unprocessed history as a Soviet state: A young freedom fighter and a KGB officer who grew up in the Soviet era made life-changing decisions; today they are both contemplating their past. After many years in a psychiatric prison, a dissident is released and returns to his wife. She tries to fill the abyss of his memory by helping him to recall his story. A writer in the underground press who had been sentenced to seven years of Siberian exile decides to meet his former interrogator for a cup of coffee. These stories triggered a discussion on how participant’s perceptions of the recent past differ and their understanding of what democracy is. On the other hand, students acknowledged the Soviet life and post-Soviet life in Lithuania as completely different from the contemporary life of young people as to the claim of one of the students who emphasized that he would never imagine of being suddenly arrested for his beliefs, and/or cultural or political opinions on Facebook, for instance.
On 10 June, the joint group of 8th and 9th graders reviewed the film “How We Played the Revolution/Kaip mes žaidėme revoliuciją”, a drama-musical that took place in 1984 when architects decided to organize one-night music band as New Year’s party joke in Kaunas, Lithuania. The discussion after the film, with a mixed-age group, showed the different views of the students on the events and persons depicted in the film. As the Perestroika and Upheaval (Sąjūdis) period of 1986-1990 was just beginning in Lithuania marking the cultural change and the uncensored freedom, including popular, rock or independent music proliferation. The students were able to make a comparison between the then popular movements and the contemporary YouTube and Tik Tok social-political upheavals.