Director: Martin Marecek
Photography: JIRÍ MÁLEK

Year: 2005
Colour: Colour
Lenght: 75'

The Source (Zdroj), a non-distribution documentary by Martin Marecek.
Marecek’s movie, which is a part of the author´s personal quest for the links and paradoxies of car traffic culture in the Czech republic, focuses on the shaky situation in contemporary Azerbaijan.

In the scorched and devastated landscape, the only view available are the oil-mining towers, exploiting – in contrast with the wishes of the locals –the strategic raw material necessary for the production of oil.

Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan is part of a monstrous socialistic complex of pipelines Baku, slightly modified according to the new political situation. Prosperity is based on poverty and miserable situation of local citizens in this country, which has the highest rate of corruption and which is governed under a hybrid form of dictatorship.
Martin Skalský, the advisor of non-governmental organizations and member of The Source crew, explains: „The massive production of oil in Azerbaijan is financed by World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The representatives argue that the new pipeline helps to solve unemployment and extreme poverty of this region. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Export of oil makes Azerbaijan a new colony.“
Find out the source of prosperity and the living standard of (not only) Czech republic! Find out The Source!


Documentary filmmaker Martin Marecek´s and activist Martin Skalský´s film opens with an animated sequence that illustrates in shorthand the road from the mining fields of Baku to the full fuel tank, to the real price of oil. Contemporary Azerbaijan is implicitly undemocratic, with a strong presidential systém and clan mentality, exploited by Western corporations.

Looking at the broader context, the film explores the project of oil pipelines supported by the World Bank. The documentary is the first filmic output of the extensive social project Auto*Mat, which confronts various forms of human mobility.

While the power of the heir to the presidential throne Ilham Alyiev is satirized by the straightforward image of the matrushka dolls, each concealing another one (concealing, too, wilfull arrests and torture of local opposition), one of the key motifs of the film is – aside from the portrayal of the irony of the symbols of power floating over the disconsolate social landscape, or tokens of civic resistance – to unmask the use of language, where the idioms of the Communist apparatchiks are used to convey the message of globalization.

The authoritarian use of language defending the benefits of global corporations anticipates the control of a certain territory by ownership without context, where there is no responsibility towards the borders of local culture, which is often also the border of local language. In an unknown and unspecified language of the new power, there thus merge the residue of communist totalitarianism and the imperial ambitions of expanding capital, non-concrete and non-committant, which aptly reminds us of the waning power of individual countries to decide their fate.

The oil stain thus mirrors a new, updated version of capitalism, a neo-liberal challenge that is the driving power of rapid social, political and economic changes. But what to do with those who don´t want things that way? Entertain them to death, or throw them in jail.

Auteur documentary by Martin Marecek and Martin Skalský. Baku in Azerbaijan, the site of the world’s first oil well, is once again becoming a focus for foreign investors eager to exploit the country’s vast oil riches. “Source” traces the pipeline from our commuter highways back to this surreal and sinister landscape on which our way of life depends, where cows graze on polluted land and children play in toxic gunge. With three quarters of the population living under the poverty line, the country’s post-Soviet government is promising oil will turn Azerbaijan into a ‘real country’, a prosperous and flourishing ‘New Kuwait’.


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