MADLY IN DISSENT, 86min., Czech Republic
Directed by Kirill Sakharnov
On August 25, 1968 Victor Fainberg joined seven other Soviet citizens in the legendary Red Square Demonstration to protest the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. For his five minutes of freedom on the Red Square, Fainberg paid with five and a half years of solitary confinement and torture in a Soviet psychiatric prison. Diagnosed with "sluggish schizophrenia", he experienced the most invasive form of Soviet repressions: punitive psychiatry. Disarmed by Fainberg’s combativity inside the “mental hospital”, his main psychiatrist started to play a double game to help his “patient” from the loneliness of his cell lead a global campaign against the political misuse of psychiatry. Pressured from the outside, Soviet authorities had no choice but release him: Fainberg was welcome in France as a political refugee where he successfully campaigned for the liberation of Eastern European dissidents and fought – along with leading French intellectuals – for the life and dignity of civilians in war zones (Chechnya, Bosnia, Ukraine). Victor Fainberg passed away in France in early 2023.