Belgrade International Film Festival

"Der Chinesische Markt" [German film]
(Zoran Solomun and and Vladimir Blazevski, directors)

Review by Radmila Djurica

Both directors of the documentary Der Chinesische Markt, or Chinese Market, probably live abroad, and are originally from Yugoslavia. It is not clear: is this a documentary about the Eastern European black market and its business with Chinese immigrants? Or, is it a social story about the people who are economically involved in this market?

Chinese Market is a documentary that follows the everyday life of Eastern Europeans and refugees from former communist countries. These refugees are living and working at one of the biggest Chinese markets in Eastern Europe, in Budapest, Hungary. At this market gather people from all over: from almost all former communist and communist countries in the world. People coming from China, the former Yugoslavia, Eastern Germany, Russia, etc. ... They all come here, to Budapest, Hungary, the center of Eastern Europe, to buy goods to resell in their native countries.

Following the market life of these people, the viewer gets a mental picture of the people coming to buy and sell a great variety of goods. For example, for Yugoslavians, this Chinese Market presents one of the only resources of cheap goods, later resold over and over on the Yugoslav Market. For some people, the goods available at this Chinese Market are the only ones that fit their budget. And therefore, it represents a valuable resource for survival. It has clothing, watches, cheap jewellery, toys, food, shoes, cameras, everything for everyday reasonable prices. The prices are affordable for people who are out of work and short on basic life necessities.

Of course, I'm talking about smuggling goods, waiting on the borders, risking the loss of goods or money. The risk of getting caught on the borders with smuggled goods coming from this market is no big deal, because this is the only way to survive in Romania, the former Yugoslavia, China, Bulgaria, Eastern Germany, etc....Many of them are highly qualified teachers, professors, former directors of big companies in Yugoslavia, journalists, editors. In general, these are people with a high level of education and good careers behind them, left without the possibility of a decent life in Eastern European countries, after the civil wars and big political changes in the past 10 years.



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