1989: From Letters Across the Iron Curtain

  • 1989: Z dopisů psaných přes železnou oponu
  • Karel Strachota
  • Česká republika
  • 2019
  • 44 min.
  • titulky
  • 13—21 let
Audio-visual lessons

Lesson objectives

  • To better understand emigration through the letters of student Petr Kořínek
  • To take in the feelings of people who lived in a non-free regime
  • To learn about the gradual disintegration of the Soviet bloc, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and student demonstrations leading to the Velvet Revolution

Petr Kořínek is 21. He’s from Pardubice, listens to underground bands, reads samizdat publications, and has problems at school because of his long hair. He also dreams about emigrating. It happens to be early 1989, and there is nothing to indicate that he might see freedom anytime soon in communist Czechoslovakia. “I can’t imagine staying in a police state where there is always someone else deciding about my life,” he writes in a letter to his parents on 7 February, 1989, just before boarding a train heading to Paris.


Tato lekce je k dispozici i v české verzi.


Teaching materials

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Be Walked Away

Activity / 90 mins / doporučený věk: 13+

Students will

  • empathize with the situation of a young person in a non-free country and in exile
  • learn about the situation of Czechoslovak migrants in the 1980s
  • argue in favour of their values and opinions

Questions and Answers

Informational texts

  • What was the Socialist Youth Union?
  • How was culture controlled/restricted in Czechoslovakia?
  • What did a person have to do if they wanted to legally travel abroad?
  • How did the Velvet Revolution take place?
  • What was the Civic Forum?

UPDATED: How to reflect on emotions after the film screening

Informational texts

  • Why is it important to reflect on emotions?
  • Basic methods of reflection
  • From reflection to discussion

Jak pracovat s audiovizuálními materiály

  • instruktážní film
  • rady a doporučení
  • manuál
  • obecné aktivity

Teaching with documentaries: Methodological handbook

Handbook containing a collection of comprehensive activities designed for teaching with documentaries, along with the OWIS theoretical framework for English lessons.

English activities for teaching with documentaries

Informational texts

A set of activities generally applicable to working with film in English classes

Accompanying and recommended materials

Velvet Revolution in Photographs

Velvet Revolution 1989 through the eyes of Czech photographers

The Life of Vaclav Havel

Correspondent Chris Bowlby looks back at the life of Vaclav Havel, the Czech playwright and politican who led his country's revolution against communism.

Vaclav Havel's New Year's Address

New Year's Address to the Nation 1990

Communist have left the Czech Parliament

Communists have now left the Czech parliament, more than three decades after the Velvet Revolution.

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