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Abstract

This article analyses the Muslim convert as portrayed in three post-communist Eastern European films: Vladimir Khotinenko’s A Moslem (Мусульманин, Russia, 1996), Jerzy Skolimowski’s Essential Killing (Poland/Norway/ Ireland/Hungary/France, 2010), and Sulev Keedus’s Letters to Angel (Kirjad Inglile, Estonia, 2011). Although set in different periods, the films have their origins in Afghanistan and then move to European countries. The conversion to Islam happens in connection to, or as a consequence of, different military conflicts that the country has seen. The authors examine the consequences the characters have on their environment, using Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s concept of deterritorialisation, understood as an opportunity to produce political and cultural change. Resettling from one religion and place into another means breaking up structures that need to be reassembled differently. However, these three films seem to desire deterritorialisation and resettlement for different reasons. In A Moslem, national structures need to be reset since foreign Western values have corrupted the post-communist Russian rural society. In Essential Killing, it is the Western military system of oppression that cannot uphold the convert and his values. Lastly, in Letters to Angel, the convert exposes the hollowness of post-communist capitalism. The Muslim converts in these films are subtle reminders that we can all reinvent ourselves.

Abstract

The traumas of the twentieth century affected the development of trauma narrative in literature and cinema. Much of the trauma theory in different disciplines developed largely from the Holocaust literature as well as from gender-based violence. The criticism of many examples in contemporary trauma theory has been that they are applicable only to Western countries and do not take into account the difficult transitions between the non-Western and Western world. The countries that had gone through a brutal occupation of the Soviet Union also experienced the trauma of transformation, as whole societies turned into post-Soviet nations next to the developed Nordic/ Western states. This article will examine the representations of trauma in Sofi Oksanen’s fictional narrative Purge (Puhdistus, 2008) and Lukas Moodysson’s cinematic narrative Lilya 4-Ever (Lilja 4-ever, Sweden/Denmark, 2002) and off er an analysis of the trauma of transitions in the borderland between the post-Soviet and Nordic countries. Both Oksanen and Moodysson, as observers from the Nordic countries (Finland and Sweden respectively), have chosen to depict the post-Soviet trauma through a female body which is trapped in forced prostitution in Western Europe or Scandinavia and her emotions and reactions to her trauma. This article will argue that both authors contribute to the post-Cold War discourse that discusses the cultural borders between “East” and “West”, presenting a trauma of globalisation, drawing attention to unspoken subjects, but also contributing to the existing views of post- Soviet spaces as ruined and traumatising.

Abstract

This article looks at the factors that have influenced the Estonian adaptation of the Idols format, Eesti otsib superstaari. Based on existing literature, as well as on interviews with representatives of the local TV industry, this article suggests that the most influential factor is the small size of the Estonian TV market. Most changes to the original format have been made for practical reasons and not due to cultural considerations. Hence, this article argues that it is mostly market and industry logistics that influence programme imports and local adaptations and not so much the cultural shareability of such programmes.

Abstract

This article investigates the strategies behind the production of crossmedia content at Eesti Rahvusringhääling (ERR), Estonia’s public broadcaster. The empirical work that supports its analytic objectives consists of multiple methodologically varying sub-studies: a textual analysis of ERR’s existing online presence and crossmedia content; 32 semi-structured interviews with its various top- and mid-level managers; and a documentary analysis of its associated strategies, guidelines, and communications. The paper suggests that, despite ERR’s advanced presence on digital platforms, it notably lacks a more comprehensive strategy for crossmedia content production and for achieving better inter-organisational cooperation that would enable new production processes. Although a few more advanced crossmedia productions have taken place, these have tended to emerge ad hoc - out of initiatives from individual employees. The article, however, suggests that, despite the current lack of an organisational strategy, the experiences acquired by its employees are creating a timely momentum for using interpretative and adaptive approaches to developing its new crossmedia production strategies.

Abstract

The article discusses the cinematic representations of the post-Soviet individual in two internationally acclaimed Nordic films, namely, Aki Kaurismäki’s Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana (Pidä huivista kiinni, Tatjana, Finland/Germany, 1994) and Lukas Moodysson’s Lilya 4-Ever (Lilja 4-ever, Sweden/Denmark, 2002). The guiding premise is that the films represent cross-cultural inquiries on identity and otherness that reflect and challenge the (male) gaze of the West European North upon the (female) post-Soviet East soon after the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe.

Abstract

This article looks at What Happened to Andres Lapeteus? (Mis juhtus Andres Lapeteusega, Estonia, 1966), a film that marked the directing debut of Russian-Estonian theatre and film director Grigori Kromanov, as a cinematographic narrative that follows the development of a homo sovieticus. The concept of homo sovieticus, initially simply an ironic reference to the “New Soviet Man” promoted in the official Soviet vocabulary, was elaborated in the 1980s and 1990s by several thinkers and writers from Eastern Europe into a concept allowing for a more analytical description of the bureaucratic human type that developed under the Soviet regime. The German- American philosopher Hannah Arendt in her renowned The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) found that the juridical, the moral, and the individual in a man could most effectively be killed in concentration camps. The Russian philosopher Aleksandr Zinoviev and the Polish philosopher Józef Tischner, however, have seen the homo sovieticus syndrome as resulting from spiritual rather than physical imprisonment. Predisposed by the planned Soviet economy, which did not motivate Soviet people to make any creative, intellectual, or moral efforts, homo sovieticus soon started to represent a certain official ritualistic behaviour that maintained the symbolic legitimacy of power.

What Happened to Andres Lapeteus? tells the story of an ambitious young Estonian official during Stalinist and post-Stalinist years, but does it in a novel way for its time, tackling the popular criticism of the cult of personality in the Thaw era from the viewpoint of individual responsibility. Offering a charismatic black-and-white version of the novel The Case of Andres Lapeteus (Andres Lapeteuse juhtum, 1963) by the Estonian writer Paul Kuusberg, Kromanov’s new wave film still makes us ponder the often avoided and delicate issue of the Sovietisation of the Baltic states from the inside.