1. bookTom 10 (2022): Zeszyt 1 (April 2022)
Informacje o czasopiśmie
License
Format
Czasopismo
eISSN
2346-5522
Pierwsze wydanie
15 Dec 2013
Częstotliwość wydawania
1 raz w roku
Języki
Angielski
access type Otwarty dostęp

The Mortgaged Miracle Social Stratification in Contemporary Estonian Cinema

Data publikacji: 09 May 2022
Tom & Zeszyt: Tom 10 (2022) - Zeszyt 1 (April 2022)
Zakres stron: 180 - 192
Informacje o czasopiśmie
License
Format
Czasopismo
eISSN
2346-5522
Pierwsze wydanie
15 Dec 2013
Częstotliwość wydawania
1 raz w roku
Języki
Angielski
Abstract

According to recent OECD statistics, Estonia is the European Union country with the highest income inequalities. Among all the ex-Warsaw bloc states, the Baltic country also has the highest household debt. Despite these dire socio-economic indicators, Estonia’s path to economic development, the adaptation of the purest forms of neoliberalism to be found in Europe, is often hailed among economists. Former prime minister Mart Laar, one of the key architects of what was dubbed by some the Estonian Economic Miracle, admitted that his guideline for the post-Soviet economic reform (and the only book he read on economics) was Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose.

How does inequality, social exclusion and growing social stratification manifest itself in Estonian contemporary cinema? The debut films of three directors, Vallo Toomla, Mihkel Ulk and Toomas Hussar, which all have a contemporary setting, address the neoliberal transformation process to various degrees. All three debut films are genre films: Mushrooming (Hussar, 2012) is a comedy, Zero Point (Ulk, 2014) a high-school drama and The Pretenders (Toomla, 2016) a thriller. None of the films directly addresses the social stratification of Estonian society. The films engage the subject with a low level of politicization, yet each of the films is a chronotope of the engagement of the film medium with society. Especially the question of individual responsibility to society, accountability for social exclusion and possible alternatives to neoliberalism are either addressed in an apprehensive way or, through their absence, deemed irrelevant. How did Friedman’s claim that economic freedom equals political freedom, that the market is the only effective tool and that self-interest is the only acceptable driving force in society affect the Estonian cinemascape? This article argues that the chronotope of contemporary cinema in the small Baltic country is an outopia, a no-place, in which alternatives to the status quo have no more reference points. The outopian outlook on society is manifested either by an absence in the belief of the integrity of politics and media (Mushrooming), by an implicit acceptance of social exclusion (Zero Point) or by the acknowledgement that faking material wealth is the only tool for maintaining social relationships (The Pretenders).

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