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A Verité Look at Socialist Reality

Source: Photo: ERR

A new television series provides a deadpan look at life in the Estonian SSR in all its absurdity.

Directed by Ain Mäeots, and produced by Tarmo Kiviväli and Maarek Toompere, ENSV (ESSR) will be shot like a straightforward drama, but the makers of the series say it will be imbued with a comedic quality because of the elements of the grotesque in life in the era.

"In our memories, the stories in ENSV are perhaps nicer than they were in reality," said Maarek Toompere on ETV's program Terevisioon. "When we actually started making it and going through old newspapers, we were shocked: did we really read that in papers back then? There was truly nothing to read there. The entire atmosphere was shocking - how horrible everything was!"

Every episode will be like a cultural glossary entry for the younger generation, said Toompere. "We try to shed light on a few keywords from the era in a mildly comic vein. Who Brezhnev was and what the Viru kulinaaria was," he said, referring to a deli in the Viru hotel that in the 1970s and 1980s catered exclusively to a select clientele of foreigners and apparatchiks.

The first episode will air on ETV, one of the television channels operated by ERR, on September 5.

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