Dir. Paul Devlin. 2003. 85mins.
In Georgian and English, with subtitles.
December 11-18, 2003
How do you get people to pay for something they've always received for free? Power Trip, director Paul Devlin's gripping documentary about one corporation's attempt to privatize electricity service in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, uses this premise as a jumping-off point. It ultimately becomes a microcosmic illustration of the country's disastrous transition from socialism to a free-market society.
AES initially cuts power to nonpayers, including the army and airport, but restores it as an act of social responsibility. Worse, AES execs have no recourse over the crooked ministry of energy, which continues to use bribes and fear to wield control over the region's power grid. By film's end, AES has lost $200 million on its failed mission. Devlin's timing is impeccable, given the recent resignation of corrupt Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze, and Power Trip is not to be missed.
- Lisa Sweetingham
(Now playing; Film Forum; see also "Nervous energy", page 83.)