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Light From the East

1991. Glasnost. Perestroika. The Soviet Union opens its doors to the West. A troupe of young American actors from La Mama Theater in NY travels to the former USSR to participate in the first American/Ukrainian cultural exchange theater project in Soviet history. The play they are to perform is based on the life of Les Kurbas, a revolutionary theatre director who was murdered in one of Stalin's purges. Two weeks into their trip, Gorbachev is kidnapped, the Kremlin is overthrown by a military coup, and the entire USSR is plunged into volatile uncertainty. As rehearsals progress, the play ironically begins to mirror action in the streets. Kurbas and his company struggled to make art during the revolution that ushered in Communism; the international troupe performs the life of Kurbas as the walls of Communism come tumbling down. During the massive political changes of 1991, including the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the fall of Communism, the film takes the viewer on a personal journey behind the iron curtain. Spanning a decade, LIGHT also offers a timely philosophical inquiry into the meaning of freedom. DVD extras include recent follow-up interviews shot in Ukraine with central characters regarding the transition from Communism to Democracy.