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FILM OF THE WEEK: ALL THAT GLITTERS

Tomáš Kudrna's film, winner of the Czech Radio Award at this year's One World Festival, explores the intricacies of a new democracy in the Kyrgyz town of Barskon where people fondly recall the benefits of the socialist system while a Canadian mining company tries to appease the locals in ways similar to those of the Soviets. The film was pitched at the 2006 East European Forum and, as the first-ever Czech documentary, received funding from the Sundance Documentary Fund.

 


ALL THAT GLITTERS
Czech Republic 2010, 99 min

Directed by: Tomáš Kudrna
Producer: Tomáš Kudrna
Script: Tomáš Kudrna
Cinematography: Jakub Halousek, Jan Baset Střítežský
Editor: Joe Bini
Sound: Michal Gábor
Music: Mark DeGli Antoni

Situated at the a crossroads of global interests, Kyrgyzstan reflects the political rivalry between Russian and America influence, reveals the religious rivalry between Christianity and Islam, and lies between the economic predominance of China and Russia. All That Glitters examines how strange capitalism and democracy can be when introduced to a former Soviet country, one where people never before given autonomy are suddenly expected to make their own financial and political decisions. 

The film was pitched at the 2006 East European Forum.

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All That Glitters
received funding from the Sundance Documentary Fund (description of the film from SDF's website):

Filmed in the settlement of Barskon, Kyrgyzstan, one of the former states of the Soviet Union. During the time of the Soviet Empire, the people of Barskon did not fare very well. They lived under a totalitarian regime in which the value of a human life seemed negligible.  Despite the oppression of Soviet rule they had at least everything they needed. The socialist system provided each and every inhabitant with work, a wage, free education and good health care. Regardless of whether a person worked or idled away their time, the conquests of socialism were always at hand.

The Soviet system introduced people to collective farming, provided tractors and harvesting machinery, built fences in front of people’s houses, repaired roads, and built schools.  Then everything changed. The USSR broke up and democracy and capitalism came in. In Barskon no one really knew what to do and how to conduct themselves in a  capitalist, democratic system. Habits remained the same and people waited to receive and take orders from above. Is it possible to establish democracy in a country that has lived under Soviet rule for so long?

After a period of chaos the situation began to improve. Even the inhabitants of Barskon began to feel it, especially when a large investor from Canada began to mine for gold in the mountains above Barskon. People from Barskon saw a powerful neighbor in Kumtor and began to expect it to provide everything which the USSR used to provide. In order to avoid protests from the inhabitants of Barskon, Kumtor begin to support the villagers and thus drew nearer to the role of the USSR. They became big brother.

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