Terje Toomistu

D EST FIN I 2017 I 85 mins. I OV (German subs) I Hamburg premiere

A wild flower power ride on the footprints of the Soviet hippie movement take you into the psychedelic underground of 1970s. In search of freedom and happiness under the thumb of the strict political regime a colorful crowd of artists, musicians, freaks, vagabonds and other long-haired drop-outs created their own System in the Soviet Union. More than 40 years later, a group of eccentric hippies from Estonia take a road trip to Moscow where people still gather annually on the 1st of June to commemorate a tragic event in 1971, when thousands of hippies from the Soviet Union were arrested by the KGB. The film's journey through time and dimensions goes deep into the psychedelic underground world in which these people strived for freedom.

Director Terje Toomistu states: "We are currently witnessing the rise of authoritarianism in areas of the world which we believed to be democratic and humane. Recent setbacks in the struggles for social justice and the occurrence of wars – also in Ukraine – increases the importance of provoking public discussion on the idea of non-violence and shedding light on the history of the pacifist movement in Eastern Europe and Russia.

The documentary proposes an alternative trajectory in global cultural memory, demonstrating the vast creative potential that emerged and endured within the settings of the totalitarian regime. It’s a story of an underground yet explosive youth counter-culture, which shifts the meaning of what was widely known to be 'THE hippie movement' and believed to be the Soviet era.

The film raises important points about the workings of power and the politics of ecstasy, tackling the question of freedom and self-fulfillment. Is freedom an outward-looking social quality that is achieved via means of protest and active engagement? Or is it rather an inward-looking journey, an escapist lonerism, a spiritual path? Soviet hippies struggled for their sense of freedom in many ways, but their active engagement with politics either ended up badly or didn’t change anything for the better. When thinking about the socio-political landscape of contemporary Russia, these questions reoccur in frightening clarity."

Toomistu's SOVIET HIPPIES – in an estonian alternative title version : "Soviet flower bulbs"! – was broadcast last year by Arte, but only in a significantly shorter version of 52 mins length. UNERHÖRT! shows the extended theatrical version of the film following an opening program: a six episodes mini-webseries from Arte Creative called ALTERNATIVE RUSSIA (cf. link for more information on this website).

More information: www.soviethippies.com I www.kinomaton.de I www.soviethippies.bandcamp.com