Matches, aka Ketse, is the most valuable currency in the Kin-Dza-Dza universe, and even half a match is enough to buy a transportation device. The setting is dystopian/resource depleted ("we used our oceans for fuel") and the value of the matches are said to be "because of the chemicals" Wef is even shown scraping a match head in a scene.

So, why are those chemicals so valuable? Match technology nowadays is based on potassium chloride and sulfur, but in the movie they clearly have access to other sources for that, like wood and hair. Did the Soviet Union in the 80s use a different material for matches? (I don't remember them tasting any different as a kid) Why would it be precious in a resource depleted world?


Wood and hair aren't useful to making match heads (the wood isn't precious, clearly - the violin isn't considered a treasure despite containing enormous amount of wood; and there was a scene in the film where they threw out the useless wood from matches that Mashkov burnt). If you think back to ancient history, lighting the fire was considered a very difficult task specifically because of how difficult it is to start fire/sparks absent proper materials.

Word of God is basically... no explanation. From interview with Danelia:

ПЖ: Ясно. Вот, ксати, у меня сразу вопрос возник насчёт КЦ. Дело в том, что мы нашли этикетку от спичечного коробка, на котором написано "КЦ" - фабрика Клары Цеткин, это не оттуда, случайно, взято?
ГД: Нет, вам потом сказали
ПЖ: А, понятно. Т.е. это они, наоборот, уже из фильма взяли.
ГД: Ну, может быть.
ПЖ: А что Вы имели в виду по "КЦ", просто сочетание такое букв, да?
ГД: Ну, кц - это кц.

He basically denies that "KtZ" name has any meaning.

  • It can not have any significance for starting fire. They show Uncle Vova how to use some kind of device for doing that. – Hohmannfan Apr 24 '17 at 15:18
  • For anyone thinking of running that through Google Translate, don't. Just don't. Leave it. – Mr Lister Apr 24 '17 at 17:50

Out-of-universe answer: In dystopian/post-apocalyptic worlds, mundane everyday items become currency quite often. Matches are a typical example. In Metro2033 universe, they use AK-47 ammo as currency. Anything that was in mass production, but technology for that mass production is lost or resources are limited, could become a currency.

I do not remember an explanation in the movie, maybe someone who saw it recently may provide an in-universe answer.

  • 4
    And in Fallout they use bottle caps. – JAB Apr 24 '17 at 15:03

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