Film Archive

Soviet Hippies

Documentary Film
Estonia,
Finland,
Germany
2017
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Liis Lepik, Sarita Sharma, Sami Jahnukainen
Terje Toomistu
Taavi Arus
Martin Männik
Priit Tender
Terje Toomistu
Indrek Soe, Seppo Vanhatalo
A life between Lenin and Lennon. The clash between utopias of freedom and utopias of community. Life as a hippie in the Soviet Union was dangerous – no wonder, considering that the flower children were especially hardened criminals. Just imagine: up to ten phone booths per day were looted in Tallinn alone to tune their electric guitars with the valuable electronic parts. Guitar raid! Drugs, rock’n’roll, long hair, naked bodies, sex, peace, psychedelic art, meditation, Batik shirts, shaggy beards.

The Estonian director Terje Toomistu uses a wide and abundant variety of archive material to trace a lifestyle that marked not only the American 1970s but also proliferated in the metropolises of the Soviet Union, even if nobody there understood exactly what the Beatles were actually singing. And today, 40 years later? Some of the Soviet hippies are now old Soviet hippies. The Vietnam War is over – today it’s the Ukraine War. The KGB has ceased to exist – today Putin is in power. And some things are exactly like they used to be: peace, joy, Batik, beards.

Lukas Stern


Nominated for MDR Film Prize