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Director: Valentin Karavaev
Release date:

‘A Lesson Not Learned’ is a rather blatant and vicious Soviet propaganda film suggesting that West Europe is led by fascists trying to restore the Germany of old.

The film starts with images from World War II, accompanied by the sounds of bombs and gunfire. Then we cut to an old Nazi in sheep’s clothing, who seeks refuge in the American-British zone. Accepted and retired, the old Nazi preaches ‘revanchism’, in order to restore Germany’s borders from before World War II. However, he is stopped by the Berlin wall and the peace treaty signed between the USSR and the DDR, in which the current borders are accepted.

This film uses a satirical style more reminiscent of the forties than of the seventies, rendering an old-fashioned imagery. The best idea is the little Hitler angel helping the old Nazi. There’s no dialogue. For example, when the old Nazi starts to speech, we only hear the sound of guns. There’s pretty little animation and the message is emphasized with writings as in political cartoons.

It’s hard to watch a film so full of lies, which shows that up to its very end the Soviet Union partly based its legitimation on the idea that its existence was the only way to stop fascism. And the saddest thing is that the current Russian regime has revived this falsehood to defend its current war in the Ukraine.

Watch ‘A Lesson Not Learned’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘A Lesson Not Learned’ is available on the DVD set ‘Animated Soviet Propaganda’

Directors: Kaspar Jancis, Ülo Pikkov & Priit Tender
Release Date: March 25, 2005
Rating: ★★★½

Frank & Wendy © Eesti JoonisfilmProbably one of the weirdest animated features ever made, Frank & Wendy belongs to the most commercial films ever produced by the Eesti Joonis film studios.

It features plenty of action, loud rock music, and a weird sense of humor, while it lacks the disturbing qualities of earlier films produced in this studio. Despite clearly being pure entertainment, it nonetheless retains the strong absurdism and surrealism typical for the Eesti Joonis studio, thanks to the screenplays and storyboards by Estonian animation master Priit Pärn. Frank & Wendy was originally conceived as a television series, and the feature has retained its episodic character, being divided into seven rather unrelated episodes.

Frank and Wendy are American FBI agents living in Estonia, saving the world from the most bizarre evil schemes, like a fast food chain selling hamburgers, which transmit a hunger message, and an amusement park designed to let live polar bears eat American elderly tourists. Also featured are politicians Vladimir Putin and Tony Blair, while several characters from other Eesti Joonisfilms have a cameo. The plots are very hard to re-tell and make even less sense on paper than on the screen.

Frank & Wendy is an entertaining movie, but due to its lack of plot and its episodic nature, watching it becomes a bit tiresome. In the end it fails to be a masterpiece.

Watch an excerpt from ‘Frank & Wendy’ yourself and tell me what you think:

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