Film ‘waltzes’ inside a censored Belarus

On Tuesday, CPJ reported that Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko had signed a new media law allowing authorities to further restrict press freedom by controlling what is published on the Internet. Belarus is on CPJ’s list of the world’s Most Censored Countries.

Journalists are not the only ones denied freedom of expression. “Belarusian Waltz,” an upcoming film on the PBS series “POV,” tells the story of Alexander Pushkin, a Belarusian performance artist. His avant-garde street theater includes “wheelbarrows of dung, mock patriotic displays, and portraits of condemned Nazi collaborators.” They are intended to challenge Lukashenko’s power and spark debate among Belarusians. Pushkin’s work often results in his being dragged away by police.

“Belarusian Waltz” provides a glimpse into how the regime causes people to censor themselves. In the film’s preview, an elderly woman asks “Why are you filming us?” while her husband screams, “I’ll smash that camera of yours!”