Radio Free Europe, an Inspiration for the story of ‘Pavlina’

‘Pavlina’ is a short screenplay shortlisted for the portmanteau style 50 Kisses Film. Set in the 1980s in Cold War Czechoslovakia, it follows the story of a curious young woman who puts herself at risk as she gains information about the West from an illegal radio station.  This radio station is itself inspired by ‘Radio Free Europe’ (in Czech Svobodná Evropa) which played a critical role during the Cold War in Eastern Europe.

To give a bit of background, Wikipedia states that Radio Free Europe (RFE) was developed out of a belief that the Cold War would eventually be fought by political rather than military means. The station broadcasted from Munich offering Czechoslovakia and other Eastern European countries uncensored information. This type of information was normally distorted or suppressed by the communist authorities.

Video clip: The late Czech president Václav Havel’s thoughts on the significance of RFE, recorded on 21st September 2004

I couldn’t help but be fascinated with the history surrounding Radio Free Europe and how the people were greatly influenced by the broadcasts.  For example, to me most interesting was a program that warned people against communist spies and collaborators who were living in their midst or the airing of  messages from relatives who had made it safely abroad after escaping Czechoslovakia. Radio Free Europe truly was the bane of the communist authorities who forever tried to jam its waves.

 Video clip: The Radio Free Europe Story describes the type of broadcasts made, as discussed above, giving us an insight as to why the communist authorities saw RFE as a threat.

If there was one sound guaranteed to infuriate Czechoslovakia’s communist leaders during the 1970s and 80s it was the call-sign of the US-funded Radio Free Europe, broadcasting from Munich to the countries of the Eastern Bloc.

Quote source

Going back to the story of Pavlina, when creating Pavlina’s character I envisaged how a young woman behind the Iron Curtain, intrigued, would be unable to resist listening to the broadcasts of this illegal radio station. Would she have heard about ‘Valentines Day’?  A Western celebration that Eastern bloc citizens were not exposed to or even knew of its existence, perhaps only known to those who listened to Radio Free Europe. I let my imagination take hold as I typed FADE IN:

The screenplay: Pavlina (currently unavailable due to pre-production 2015)

Genre: Cold War drama

Logline: Behind the Iron Curtain, a woman tries to share the West’s ’celebration of Love’ with her husband.


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