Power Trip (image 1)

Screened as part of NZIFF 2003

Power Trip 2003

Directed by Paul Devlin

USA In English and Georgian with English subtitles
83 minutes 35mm

Director, Editor

Producers

Paul Devlin
,
Valery Odikadze
,
Claire Missanelli

Photography

Paul Devlin
,
Valery Odikadze

Sound

Benny Mouthon
,
Matt Haasch
,
Pat Donahue

With

Piers Lewis
,
Michael Scholey

Festivals

Berlin 2003

Elsewhere

A remarkably colourful and absorbing documentary, Power Trip takes us to the former Soviet Republic of Georgia where AES, a multinational conglomerate based in Virginia, has bought into the recently privatised business of electricity supply. First task: persuade consumers accustomed to getting their power for free to part with half their incomes to pay for it. Second task: deal with riots. Next, dismantle countless homemade wiring systems, detect elaborate power diversion mechanisms and install meters… The obstacles to commercial success pile up on each other like an escalating absurdist nightmare that takes us into the highest echelons of political power and corruption. The Americans are ruefully aware of the comic aspect of their enterprise and you have to admire their stickability. Director Paul Devlin also chronicles the attempts by Georgians, high and low, to deal with a radically changed world. His people-centred account of a social and economic disaster is impressively non-judgmental – and it’s certainly an entertaining distraction from our own power crisis.