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SBD Global/October 9, 2012/People and Pop Culture

Movie Review: 'The Other Dream Team'

Lithuanian coach Vladas Garastas is flung into the air after his team won the 1992 men's basketball Olympic Bronze Medal.
The Dream Team was the nickname for the '92 U.S. men's Olympic basketball team, but another basketball story during those Games was unfolding that held "much more historical and political importance," according to Zorianna Kit of the HUFFINGTON POST. The story involved a "different type" of Dream Team, a team from Lithuania. The small country of 3 million people had "just recently regained independence" from the former USSR and was playing for the first time as an independent country. The team was funded by America's The Grateful Dead rock band, and wound up defeating its oppressors on the Unified team for the third place bronze. It is this other Dream Team that is the focus of Lithuanian-American filmmaker MARIUS MARKEVICIUS' documentary, "The Other Dream Team." Through interviews, the viewer learns what life was like being a "basketball star" behind the Iron Curtain. While players from the U.S. "basked in money and endorsements," players in the Soviet Union only made $100 a month. Using news footage, photos and colorful stories from the players themselves, "viewers are told of how the players' visits to America were heavily chaperoned by Soviet officials." It is clear first-time Dir Markevicius "infused a lot of love and passion into the documentary." He combined his love of basketball, his ethnicity and his filmmaking skills on "The Other Dream Team." The result is a story "that's at once personal to him, but universal in terms of its message of hope and perseverance" (HUFFINGTON POST, 10/7).
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