MIFF 2014 – The Gold Spinners (2013)

Directors: Hardi Volmer, Kiur Aarma

Based on absurd premise of Communists needing advertising, never the less the ERF Studio in Estonia fulfilled this purpose for many decades due to canny business knowledge from the director and getting those in power to go along with it.

They could not actually advertise brands, so they advertised the commodity itself by repeatedly saying its name in some case “CHICKEN MINCE! CHICKEN MINCE! CHICKEN MINCE!” or building an entire ad around the concept of spreadable cheese helping you win at ice hockey or tubes of marmalade going to space with the cosmonauts (they actually did.)

Despite the idea being absurd, they still made good ads and even managed to win a Bronze Lion at Cannes the one year they competed.

Towards the end of the era of Communism things started to fall apart as people wanted more consumer goods and factories were set up to make these goods despite the fact they never arrived, ads were still made for them.

The political and historical aspects of Communism in the USSR are only lightly covered here, but they are already well documented. I really did not know about this agency before I heard of the documentary although I did know of the Eastern European Communist musicals from the earlier film “East Side Story”.

Most of the advertisements have been destroyed, but some are now safely in the Estonian film archives and even turned up in the movie Borat.

I would recommend this documentary if you wanted to see a different side to Communism in Europe and how some people can still make money in the most restrictive situations.


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