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ESSR - Ain Mäeots/ Marko Piirsoo - Estonia



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Interview with Villu Kangur and Gert Kiiler

Interview with Laine Mägi

ESSR (ENSV: Eesti Nõukogude Sotsialistlik Vabariik, 2010)

Directors: Ain Mäeots, Marko Piirsoo
Cast: Laine Mägi, Mait Malmsten, Tiit Sukk


Everyone wonders how people from the past lived. What was it like to be amused by the first TV airings in full color? How was it to live without the Internet? But overall, how did normal families live far away under communist regimes? Eurochannel transports you back in time and space to be part of an Estonian family of the 1980s in a new series: ESSR.

ESSR is one of the most successful comedies ever produced in Estonia, a small country in the Baltic. Directed by Ain Mäeots and Marko Piirsoo, the series brings to viewers' minds, and masterfully blends, the ideas behind popular European sitcoms and soap operas such as The Royale Family, The Office or EastEnders.

ESSR -- that stands for Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, the name that Estonia had until May 1990—depicts a normal family and illustrates almost every aspect of life in Soviet Estonia in common settings such as a polling station, a basketball game, a restaurant and, of course, a household.

Depicting the life or normal peasants in the country from November 1982, this first season of the series was first aired in Estonia in 2010 to great acclaim by TV critics and continues on air to date.


Episode - 1

A comedy series depicting an Estonian family in the 1980s. There is a rebel-minded grandpa, two siblings, a mother, who is a member of the Soviet Socialist Party, and her lover, who is there because the real husband is a captain on a foreign-going ship. To top it all, they have to share their apartment with a true communist and her son.

Season 2

Episode 3 - Over and Out

Happiness and trouble come hand in hand; Sirje and Ats don't know whether to laugh or cry. Comrade Võsa effortlessly solves a delicate situation. Militsiya Jüri finds an unexpected soul mate. Things get interesting.

Episode 4 - A Fresh Start

The life at Kadak's home gets turned upside down. Ats and Aadu seek help and make a long-distance call. Paavo finally finds a soul mate.

Episode 5 - Long Live 1 May!

A night before May Day. Sirje is returning from a secondment. Aadu has a problem. Rivalry between the real and the stepfather continues.

Episode 6 - Lies and VCR

Pille's faced with a tough choice. Paavo is bested by modern technology. Ats' feelings get hurt. There's "sport" in the air.

Episode 7 - Dire Straits

Paavo's future is on the stake. Ats and Villem try to determine who's a better father. Pille's making plans for the summer.


•   In every episode, there is a virtual dictionary that explains some features that were common in Soviet Estonia, but which people have forgotten or do not know at all. It is mostly meant for the younger generation.
•  The television set used in the very first episode is not from 1982, the year in which the episode is set. The reason why the producers used a newer version is the fact that this was the only one they could find that actually worked.
•  The Communist Party membership card was bought from a flea market for 150 EEK.

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