Russia, Czech Republic, Germany, 2013, 121 min.
They are the starting point of a journey from the Urengoy Gas Fields in the Northern West Siberian Basin, the second largest natural gas field in the world, to Cologne in Germany. The crosses, which return at the end of the journey, symbolize the new religion: gas, or more aptly, money, illustrated by the quote that precedes the images: “50% of Russia’s budget comes from the oil and gas industry – V. Putin”. Pipeline, Vitaly Mansky’s film, and winner of this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival’s documentary competition, follows – it is asserted – the route of a gas pipeline. We are presented with scenes from life in various places supposedly situated along the route. The scenes are interspersed every now and then with a bright image of shiny blue and yellow pipes with red arrows, wheels and meters. They must represent the gas works, the underground, the wealth. Above, in the east, everything is grey, when it isn’t white with snow.
The further west we travel, the more colour in the images, and in the lives represented.