Search graduate:

Eva Johanna Mallene

  • Faculty of Art and Culture
  • Literature, Visual Culture and Film Studies
  • ma
  • Elusive Eastern Europeans or Exotic Fools? The Portrayals of Estonians in Fictional Anglophone Film and TV Shows
  • Tutor(s): Daniele Monticelli, PhD

The aim of this thesis is to look at the portrayal of Estonians depicted in Western and anglophone TV shows and movies. It is an overview of Estonians as represented in fictional Western film and TV series, based on a complied corpus of 28 items of mentions of Estonian characters from the last half century. The study of imagology has been growing exponentially in popularity during the last few decades, but Estonia and the associated characteristics have been ignored so far, either by merging it into a generic Eastern European stereotype or skipping over it completely. The caricatured images of nationalities we see on television are unavoidably the basis for our knowledge of the world, and the stereotype that has been created of the typical Estonian is likely the only thing that a significant amount of people know about Estonia. The hetero-image that has been created of Estonians in television shows and movies has not been imagologically researched so far, so it is interesting to see, what the global image of Estonians is like and what sort of patterns emerge. Although my aim is not to show whether the generated stereotypical Estonian is true or not, it is important in imagology to also break down the general concept of a national ethnotype by demonstrating how they come to be. 

Brendan Fraser portraying Linkovich Chomovsky (allegedly) from Estonia, screenshot from the movie Encino Man (1992)
Tatiana Pajkovic portraying Estonian character Maria, screenshot from the movie Transporter Refueled (2015)