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RULES OF CORRUPTION


Under the weight of corruption, the rule of law has crooked legs. In some places, it’s crawling on its knees. And in others, it has already turned to dust. In the Czech Republic, the politicians protect their honest faces on campaign posters from the scribbles of a bus driver. Does it matter that the faces on the posters are people who do business with the mob?! (Free Smetana) At Sochi, in the Caucasus, the Olympics have turned into a very profitable deal for the power’s clientele and a very bad deal for the local inhabitants. The profits are reserved for the chosen few. The others make do the best way they can: some entrepreneurs prefer to emigrate than lose their head at the roulette (Putin’s Games). In Africa, some humanitarian operations prove to be another form of fraud (Mission Congo). The American tele-evangelists gather money from believers; a small part of it reaches the Congo government in the form of bribes. The rest is profit, for God’s sake! A very interesting postcard comes from India: the citizens steal electricity, the power company offers bad services, the politicians make promises – and that doesn’t cost a thing. Everybody steals from everybody else; consequently, everyone is satisfied and the vicious cycle seems impossible to break (Powerless).

Although everyone sees it, corruption is a phenomenon that is hard to photograph. Not only because nobody hurries to sit in front of a camera while bribing someone. But the mechanisms of corruption have certain qualities that render them invisible: they are usually abstract, are based on schemes that are hard to grasp and wear various honourable masks. All that makes these films even more precious, for they record on camera what otherwise escapes our view. (A S)