Martin Saxer, Marlen Elders, Daler Kaziev
A generation ago, Murghab was well taken care of. As the highest town of the former Soviet Union at 3600 metres above sea level and close to the sensitive borders with Afghanistan and China, the town enjoyed ample provisions from Moscow brought in via the Pamir Highway. It had electricity around the clock, an airport, a movie theatre, and a hospital with central heating. Since then, Murghab and its people have weathered several storms and the Soviet hallmarks are crumbling away. Yet, live goes on and, with wit and improvisational skills, the ruins of Socialism afford a plethora of new but precarious ways to make do. The film provides a window into contemporary life in Murghab. It follows a group of men harvesting shrubs on the windswept high-altitude plateau, a nurse keeping regional health statistics, a passionate teacher inspiring a sense of history and purpose in her class, and a welder building stoves from the scraps of Soviet modernity. A winter film of hardship, work and hope.