Cineast 2021: Goodbye Soviet Union
Original title: Hüvasti, NSVL! Estonia, Finland 2020, comedy 91 min. VO, EN subtitles
Directed by Lauri Randla, Written by Lauri Randla. Cast: Nika Savolainen, Pääru Oja, Sten Karpov, Anne Reemann, Ülle Kaljuste, Niklas Kouzmitchev, Tõnu Oja, Jekaterina Novosjolova, Dima Bespalov, Elene Baratashvili.
Johannes’ life was unconventional from the start. Not knowing who his father was, Johannes’ mother wrote that Lenin was the father on his birth certificate. After all, as his grandfather says, “Lenin is the father to all fatherless children in the Soviet Union.” After his rebellious mother leaves to find work in Finland, Johannes is left with his conservative grandparents, where he is raised in an idyllic secret village surrounding a uranium plant. But after an accident with a contaminated body of water, Johannes loses half his hair and the family is forced to find another place to live—leading to a new series of calamities. As western influence expands throughout the Soviet Union, and the Soviet leaders struggle to hold onto their dwindling power, Johannes’ family is stuck somewhere in the middle, often in some pretty absurd situations. A hilarious coming-of-age satire, GOODBYE SOVIET UNION follows Johannes as he navigates the complexities of growing up in the Estonian Soviet Republic, just as the sun is setting on the Soviet empire.