WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THEY INTRODUCE COMMUNISM TO SAUDI ARABIA?
Nothing at first, but soon there would be a shortage of sand. Under the oppressive Communist regimes of the Soviet Union and its satellites, ordinary people told thousands of jokes about the society they lived in and the political system they suffered under. This documentary tells the real history of Communism through the jokes and the joke-tellers, many of whom ended up in the gulags. The film is illustrated with a combination of rare archive, interviews (Lech Walesa, General Jaruselski) and recreations of the jokes as sketches and animations. It is packed with strange stories– of the official who collected jokes for Ronald Reagan, the Polish prankster who gave away toilet paper to deprived fellow citizens, and of the Romanian statistician who collected and analyzed Communist jokes to reveal the part they played in the downfall of the system.
A Canada co-production with Alegria Pictures.
Running Time: Feature Documentary
Writers: Ben Lewis & Christine Camdessus
Director: Ben Lewis
Director of Photography: Frank Peter Lehmann
Composer: Ken Williams
Producer(s): Christine Camdessus, Leah Mallen
FESTIVALS & AWARDS
Awards & Nominations
- 2006 Zurich International Film Festival – Won Best New Documentary
- 2006 Leeds International Film Festival – Leeds, Scotland
- 2006 Zurich International Film Festival – Zurich, Switzerland
- 2006 Tribeca Film Festival – New York City, USA
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Produced by Alegria Productions & Screen Siren Pictures Inc in association with Bergmann Pictures. A BBC Production produced in association with ARTE/ZDF. Produced with the support of MEDIA PLUS PROGRAMME of the European Community. Produced in association with The Documentary Channel. Produced with the participation of the Canadian Television Fund created by the Government of Canada and the Canadian Cable Industry, CTF: License Fee Program Produced with the participation of Rogers Cable Network Fund with the assistance of the Government of Canada Film or Video Production Tax Credit Program, the Province of British Columbia Film Incentive BC.
In association with TV2 Denmark, SVT Sweden, YLE 2 Finland, SBS Australia. Developed with the support of Starling (France), Centre National de la Cinématographie, and MEDIA PLUS PROGRAMME of the European Community.