Kiur Aarma and Hardi Volmer
Melbourne, United Nations Association, Message to Man, Monterrey, Vilnius, Cinema Verite
A look back at the only commercial advertising agency in the Soviet Union.
Established in 1967, at the height of the Cold War, the Estonian company Eesti Reklaamfilm had the distinction of being the sole advertising firm for the Soviet Union. Despite operating within a socialist economy that rejected the consumerism of capitalism, the studio was allowed to operate, creating advertisements – often for products that were unavailable or simply didn’t exist. Directors Kiur Aarma and Hardi Volmer tell the story of Eesti Reklaamfilm and its enterprising head, Peedu Ojamaa, smartly incorporating a wide range of archival clips to give the viewer a sense of just how strange and colorful their commercials were. While the storytelling is, on the whole, fairly academic beyond that, with a great deal of narration and talking heads, the subject matter is unusual and fascinating enough to elevate the project.