Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Shadow of the Holy Book

Arto Halonen: The Shadow of the Holy Book (DK/FI/CH 2007), a documentary film on the book Ruhnama (aka The Book of Soul) by the deceased dictator of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niazov. The giant book is being examined by Kevin Frazier and Arto Halonen.

Pyhän kirjan varjo / [Skuggan av den heliga boken].
    DK / FI /CH © 2007 Art Films Productions. P+D: Arto Halonen. SC: Halonen, Kevin Frazier. DP: Hannu Vitikainen, Arto Halonen – shot on low definition video – screening format 35 mm.
    Released in Finland by FS Film.
    In English and Finnish, with English subtitles.
    DocPoint opening film, Bio Rex, Helsinki, 23 Jan 2008.

Emma Taulo (DocPoint 2008 program catalog): "Turkmenistan is a closed dictatorship with great oil and gas reserves. The now deceased dictator Saparmurat Niazov wrote the Ruhnama, also known as The Book of Soul, as guidance and law for his citizens. Ruhnama restricts freedom of speech as well as human rights and, despite the dictator´s death, the book is still a significant influence in the country. In hope of business opportunities, international corporations have started to translate the propaganda-filled book. The appraisal of the book has helped corporations attain significant agreements with the rich dictatorship. Western co-operation has helped Turkmenistan to maintain the dictatorship and to silence the opposition and non-conformists. The Shadow of the Holy Book raises questions about the moral responsibility and obligations of large corporations." (Emma Taulo).

AA: The film follows the Michael Moore pattern of Roger & Me, with Halonen and Frazier trying to interview heavyweights, never getting answers.

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