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Flm Review: Welcome to Karastan
by Birgit Schrumpf

Director: Ben Hopkins
Georgia, Germany, Russia, Great Britain

“Where are my shoes?” These are Emil Forester’s first angry words addressed to the officials at the airport. Not to worry, he is ushered into a room where songs and musicians await him as well a new pair of colorful shoes made in Karastan, the country that invited him to its film festival. Emil’s famous name has spread to this up-and-coming new Caucasian Republic. hat it is ruled by a corrupt dictator who wants him to make an epic film to glorify the system does not perturb the Indie filmmaker. His career is fading, his wife has left him, he is broke - he cannot even pay the cleaning lady looking after his London apartment.

This comedy/thriller is set in a fictitious Central Asian country, but at the same time, it is a reflection of our modern world with the illusion of fame and power, of globalization and money-laundering,and also of loyalty and courage. It is funny, even if a bit over-the-top. Matthew Macfadyen is excellent in his role as the confused and frustrated filmmaker caught up in sex and lies. In the end he has to be rescued by the lovely Myanna Buring, the spy who turns out the “good” revolutionary.