Daily World, Tuesday, December 3, 1985
An American artist unknown in his country
"I made my first trip to the Soviet Union in February of 1984. Early in my visit I consulted my Russian dictionary for the meaning of the word 'Dyinreed.' I was surprised that a word being used by so many people was not in the dictionary. It wasn't long until I figured out that 'Dyinreed" was a man, Dean Reed. My English speaking Soviet friends couldn't believe that I didn't know the most famous American in the world!"
Robert Perschmann onlearning
Minneapolis, Minnesota - Dean Reed, the American singer and film star who lives in the German Democratic Republic, and is virtually unknown in the U.S., was here on November 6 and 7, for the area premiere of the film An American Rebel, made by the Academy-award winning director Will Roberts. The film was four years in the making, and tells the story of Reed's transformation - his becoming committed to working to end the injustices he saw in South America - through the use of interviews with Reed, his friends, his parents, and his wife, East German actress Renate Blume.
Roberts also worked from film footage of his years in South America, clips from Reed's 18 movies, and scenes from his visits to Lebanon, Nicaragua, Chile, and the USSR. The scenes from Soviet television, concerts, of his Soviet fans talking about him, and mobbing him for his autograph, and from his concert at the 12th World Festival of Youth and Students in Moscow this summer, reveal the admiration, respect and genuine love that the Soviet people feel for him. The film is a fascinating glimpse into his life and his beliefs. He emphasizes the importance of solidarity and unity against oppression and injustice throughout the world.
Reed was last in Minneapolis in 1978, when he was showing his film, El Cantor, about a Chilean poet and singer who was murdered by the Chilean government. He joined protesters in a powerline protest in Buffalo, Minnesota. They were arrested for trespassing, and held with bail set from $500-$1,000 for 11 days. This became an international incident when Reed called a few friends. Soon telegrams and letters were pouring in from all over the world. They were released without bail, and after a three-day trial were acquitted.
After the film, Reed answered questions about his life, views and the Soviet Union, and sang some of his songs. He talked about a demonstration he'd gone to that morning against a bill sponsored by Senator Rudy Boschwitz (R-Minn) that would deny Native American Indian claims to land in Clearwater, Becker and Mahnomen counties - a total of 110,000 acres. Twenty-eight people were arrested when they refused to leave Boschwitz's office without speaking to him.
Reed talked about his next film project, a political drama about Wounded Knee that will be shot in the Ukraine; he will be the author, co-director, and star of this joint Soviet-GDR project.
Born 47 years ago in Colorado, Reed grew up outside of Denver, and the U.S. premiere of the film, An American Rebel, was shown at the Denver Film Festival. While Reed was in Denver for the showin of the film, he received threats on his life from a neo-nazi group, and had to have police protection.
Reed performed at a small benefit concert here for Women Against Military Madness and the Honeywell Project. It became obvious to many here why his work has been suppressed in our country. The feelings of solidarity, courage and confidence are just what the peace movement in this country needs.
- Kathy Larson Perschmann