This axis connects all the other perspectives. It does not attempt to cover one certain social phenomenon in its full scope; we selected examples that can transmit the personal and emotional experience of an individual face to face with ideology or repression.
We focused on the experience of the common citizens who took part in neither active opposition against the regime, nor in its political and economic establishment. The life of each individual was nevertheless marked by the politics (see Our Occupation). In the Eastern Bloc, this was due to the fact that the state intervened even in areas that are now reserved for individual decision. Life under socialism presented specific situations and dilemmas and our examples aim at demonstrating them (see A Serious Conversation). This axis is meant to complement the Reppression perspective, as many examples open the dilemma of how common people (who did not oppose the regime openly) coped with human rights violations (see Diary of the Artist). When working with this axis, it is necessary to bear in mind that we mainly work with artistic representations that construct the “common citizen” category in period and contemporary films. We do not expect and cannot say for sure how many citizens of Czechoslovakia experienced the situations of our characters. However, we selected clips that permit us to ponder the question of why, by whom and when our characters are considered typical.
A delicate friendship
A letter to prison
A serious conversation
Diary of the artist
Revolution in the regions
The kid and the housekeeper
What we don’t talk about
- Fitzpatrick, Sheila. Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s. New York-Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
- Bren, Paulina. The Greengrocer and His TV: The Culture of Communism after the 1968 Prague Spring. Ithaca-London: Cornell University Press, 2010.
- Crowley, David, and Susan Emily Reid, eds. Socialist spaces: Sites of everyday life in the Eastern Bloc. Oxford: Berg, 2002.
- Feinstein, Joshua. The Triumph of the Ordinary: Depictions of Daily Life in the East German Cinema, 1949-1989. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.
- Kundera, Milan. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. New York: HarperCollins, 1999.
- Penn, Shana, and Jill Massino, eds. Gender Politics and Everyday Life in State Socialist Eastern and Central Europe. New York: Palgrave Macmillan US, 2009.