Week of November 26, 2003

Nov 26, 2003 at 4:00 am
Power Trip (unrated) Paul Devlin. In January 1999 the American multinational corporation Applied Energy Services (AES) purchased Telasi, the power distribution company based in Tbilisi, capital of the Republic of Georgia. Under the Soviet Union, Telasi provided virtually free electricity. AES changed the rules but not Georgian citizens' expectations. The people took power through various means including multiple illegal taps on lines, breakage and sabotage of meters -- all life-endangering activities. Writer/director/editor Paul Devlin's well-researched, informative Power Trip puts the current parliamentary change in the Republic of Georgia into perspective through contemporary interviews with AES executives, on-site representatives and outraged customers. A brief summary of Georgia's civil wars and economic collapse provides background to the continuing corruption. This sobering documentary details Georgia's desperate, dangerous situation and explores the diversion of electricity to industrial customers, a reporter's murder, assassination attempts and pervasive protests in AES offices and in the streets (forcing AES divestiture in August 2003). By implied contrast, our casual attitude toward electricity seems such a capitalist luxury. In English and Russian with English subtitles. Screens at 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 2, in the Moore Auditorium on the campus of Webster University, 470 E. Lockwood Avenue. Call 314-968-7487 for more information. (Diane Carson)