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The Orange Alternative

(Pomaranczowa Alternatywa, Poland, 1988),

dir. Miroslaw Dembinski (b/w, 35 mm, 24 min.) 

This short film, made by Miroslaw Dembinski while still a student at the legendary Film School in Lodz, won him First Prize at the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival in 1989, among other awards. It documents a street happening by the Orange Alternative – a social movement that was born in Wroclaw and soon spread to other Polish cities, becoming a cult phenomenon that would go down in the annals of Polish political opposition. Witty and occasionally quite cerebral, the events organized by the Orange Alternative expressed the longing for freedom from the oppressive regime. While filming, the crew was arrested… four times. The cameraman, however, managed to hide the camera and keep shooting. The scenes of the Dwarves’ arrest and interrogation show – once again – the absurdities of the system. 

The Orange Alternative wall drawing © Sikorski Tomasz

Dwarves Go to Ukraine

(Krasnoludki jada na Ukraine, Poland, 2005),

dir. Miroslaw Dembinski (color, 55 min.)

A moving account of a political action organized by the Orange Alternative Dwarves. To both support and participate in the historic moments of the “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine in 2004, the members of the Polish Orange Alternative embark on a journey from Warsaw to Kiev. On the way, in their orange bus, they knit an extraordinarily long orange scarf – a symbolic gesture, initiated in Warsaw by the Ukrainian pop star Ruslana Lyzenko, to demonstrate the rekindling of Polish-Ukrainian friendship. As they stop in small towns along the way to organize knitting-happenings, a sense of solidarity and hope can be sensed among the people they meet. Young and old, men and women, teachers and priests – all come to participate in the “ritual” of knitting, to show their support for the democratic changes in Ukraine. By documenting this trip, the film reveals the dynamics of the revolution at the grass roots level. At the end, the scarf is triumphantly wrapped around Yushchenko's neck, who then sings the national anthem together with Tymoshenko, both surrounded by the cheering crowd.

The Dwarves Go to Ukraine, 2005; the graffitti says "There’s no Freedom without Dwarves"