Who won the Cold War for the West -- Ronald Reagan
or J.R. Ewing? Filmmaker Jaak Kilmi takes a witty look at the role of pop culture in the collapse of the Soviet Union and its allies in this documentary. In Disko & Tuumasoda
(aka Disco and Atomic War
), Kilmi uses Estonia as an example of the rise of Western cultural influences in Soviet-controlled nations in the 1970s. Estonia bordered Russia but was across a gulf from Finland, and it was fairly easy for many Estonians to pick up Finnish radio and television broadcasts. While the Soviet-controlled Estonian media attempted to convince citizens of the danger and decadence of America and its allies, folks with the right television antennas could pull in U.S.-produced television shows like Dallas
(as well as late-night showings of softcore porn films, illegal under Soviet rule). Consequently, the joys of nighttime soap operas, American and British pop music, and Western fashions may have had as much to do with the collapse of communism as any explicit political movement. Kilmi also reveals how capitalism found a foothold in Estonia through a black market in television aerials capable of pulling in stations from Finland.