Sunday, April 25, 2010

Disco and Atomic War [Hot Docs review]

78 min ~ Estonia & Finland
Director: Jaak Kilmi ~ Producer: Kiur Aarma

Rating (out of 4 stars):Hot Docs showtimes

The little Baltic nation of Estonia was a pain in the butt of the old Soviet empire, according to this entertaining, tongue-in-cheek doc. Lying across the Gulf of Finland was a bourgeois capitalist country that beamed decadent Western shows into Estonian TVs that were rigged with an illegal antenna. Shows like "Dallas" undermined the Workers Paradise, because those antennae as well as videotapes of those shows spread across the Soviet empire like a virus.

Never mind Reagan and rampant corruption, "Who Shot J.R?" and the soft-porn classic Emmanuelle helped bring down the U.S.S.R. Director Klimi sets the right tone throughout. He weaves together stock footage and excerpts from vintage Estonian and Finnish TV (the disco footage is hilarious) to poke fun at the bad old Soviets, but features interviews with historians to keep his story grounded and complex. Tune in, comrade.

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