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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Rebirth of a Nation
by Betty Jo Tucker

The Singing Revolution tells an inspiring true story about what led to the rebirth of Estonia after years of foreign domination. Incredibly, this rebirth came about as a result of the Estonians’ love of singing! James and Maureen Castle Tusty’s remarkable documentary offers viewers an in-depth look at a little-known part of history as well as the opportunity to hear gorgeous choral performances by multitudes of Estonian people. Music has always played an important role in the history of Estonia -- which may be one of the smallest countries in the world, but it boasts one of the largest collections of folk songs.

While teaching filmmaking in Estonia, James and Maureen became amazed by the story of the people there. “We knew it had to be told,” Maureen declares. And I’m very grateful to this talented couple for deciding to make The Singing Revolution. It’s one of the most powerful documentaries I’ve ever seen. 

Singing as a weapon? Sounds farfetched, I know. However, between 1987 and 1991, hundreds of thousands of Estonians gathered publicly to sing forbidden patriotic songs and to listen to protest speeches. They risked their lives by taking these actions, but they were finally successful -- and without the loss of lives caused by other revolutions. How I cheered at watching the film depict their victory! It’s so refreshing to see nonviolence bringing about desired political ends.

According to James Tusty, The Singing Revolution shows how the Estonians “stood up for themselves armed only with unity, song and determination.”  Proud of his Estonian heritage, James likes to quote one viewer’s comment, “I’ve never seen a film where the hero is an entire country.” Bravo, Estonians!

Expertly narrated by Oscar-winner Linda Hunt (The Year of Living Dangerously), The Singing Revolution is a must-see for history buffs and music lovers. I believe it should be shown in all World History classes.

For more information, please visit the film’s official site at .

(Released on February 3, 2009, by New Video Group DVD -- INGR; not rated by MPAA.)

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