Posts Tagged ‘migrant worker’

Cell phones appear ever so often in fiction movies these days. Still, it is hard to deny that the vast majority of fiction movies depict but a small segment of the living conditions of our world. So much more interesting, then, when the mobile phone appears in a documentary – in the hands of Alisher, a young migrant worker from Kyrgyzstan trying to make his living in Moscow.

Alisher on the train to Moscow

Alisher on the train to Moscow

Long Distance Love is a beautiful, sad but not entirely pessimistic movie about having to leave ones home and family and go to the big city to look for a job, a reality shared by millions. This quiet drama has a love story in its focus but it is simultaneously about conditions that can be described as “modern slavery and global injustice”.

We estimate that there are today approximately 12–16 million guest workers in Russia who support themselves with low-paid jobs. Most of them come from the Central Asia countries, where unemployment rates are enormous. (Natalja Vlasova, Head of the Russian Department of Migration.)

Alisher is newly married but has to leave his pregnant wife to earn a living for her and the family. As there are no jobs available where he lives, he has look for work in Moscow. He is not paid well, but also tempted to spend the little he earns in bars. Very little money is sent home.

What keeps him from complete disaster, it seems, are the signs of life from Dildora, his young wife. There are several emotional episodes of reading a letter, talking on the phone or receiving text messages. Especially one text message, received on a night downtown, is a strong reminder about his responsibilities for his wife and child. Alisher feels ashamed for not answering texts from Dildora, who worries about him and their future.

I will not disclose how Long Distance Love continues. See it, not for the details of mediated interaction, but for its remarkable take on living conditions in a globalised world.

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