The Lost World of Communism: A Socialist Paradise (2009)
The Lost World of Communism: A Socialist Paradise
Documentary series on the fall of the Iron Curtain and its legacy. 1989 marked the collapse of communism in Eastern and Central Europe and an end to a way of life for millions of people. Having lived through extraordinary times, they tell their stories of life behind the Iron Curtain, looking beyond the headlines of spies and surveillance, secret police and political repression, to reveal a rich tapestry of experience.
Firstly, a look at the 'socialist paradise' of communist East Germany.
The chocolatey tones of the continuity announcer did make it quite clear that some clips in the Lost World of Communism DVD copy available via Amazon) documentary would be disturbing. Take it from me, you probably don’t want to be eating your tea when you watch this. It’s not violent and worthy of ringing and complaining, but there are moments which left me breathless.
There are people getting caught in barbed wire fences, disturbing anecdotes from prison camps and sickening sights of greed and arrogance from a hunt attended by various party officials, one of whom seemed to be a pretty poor shot.
But by far the most disturbing and the most memorable was the case of one former East German shotputter who as a teenage girl was encouraged to start a course of anabolic steroids. Prolonged use resulted in a serious identity crisis – the looks of a man in the body of a woman. No surprise then this particular former athelete found herself having to undergo a sex change.
The first of a series of three documentaries juxtaposing unseen archive footage with some surprising opinions about the former communist state – singer Christine Doerk was one of a handful of contributors who explained how life was actually quite good before the Berlin Wall came down – made for an engaging and informative hour of documentary television.