1989: We Want to Breathe

  • 1989: Chceme dýchat
  • Karel Strachota
  • Česká republika
  • 2023
  • 50 min.
  • titulky
Audio-visual lessons

Lesson objectives

  1. Find out about the environmental devastation that existed in North Bohemia towards the end of the normalization period.
  2. Learn about independent culture in Communist Czechoslovakia.
  3. Become aware of the importance of the anti-government activities of young people.

Teplice during the so-called normalization period. This once gorgeous spa town regarded as a Little Paris became just as devastated as the rest of the industrial area along the country’s north-west border. Often shrouded in smog so thick that you can’t see even two meters in front of you. The town is also a bastion of a specific form of punk and the center of an exceptional alternative culture. The Teplice of this period is the main setting for the story of Pavel and Renata. They want to live freely, according to their own ideals. However, the repressive Communist regime, which considers them to be “flawed youth”, systematically intervenes in their lives. Karel Strachota’s latest film is founded on archive footage and contemporary materials that document the daily life of that time. It is a mosaic of authentic situations and events, where the protagonists are based on real models. The film culminates with the demonstrations against the catastrophic state of the environment that started in Teplice one week before November 17, 1989, and subsequently became political protests. The November revolution started in the north: people wanted to breathe.

Tato lekce je k dispozici i v české verzi.

Teaching materials

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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

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

Lesson partners