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A film by Federico Schiavi and Gian Piero Palombini
A Nacne Production, in co-production with RAI Cinema
97’ – 2014 - HD
“Togliatti(grad)” reconstructs the birth of the city of Togliatti, founded in the Samara region, a thousand km east of Moscow as the result of an agreement concluded between the Ministry of Foreign Trade of the Soviet Union and the leadership of the Fiat.
After the II World War it was necessary to provide the population of the USSR with the cars. That was the goal for the construction of the car manufacturing plant.
It was an economic, strategic and diplomatic deal that compared two worlds and two opposite ideas of progress. At the same time it was one of the largest urban construction and industrial initiatives of the twentieth century: in a few years, a city of approximately 500 thousand residents was born around the production sites of the Zhiguli cars, the Soviet car derived from Fiat 124.
The Avtozavodsky district of Togliatti was built by the Soviet construction workers between 1967 and 1973 thanks mainly to the dynamic development of the VAZ Company due to the contribution of the FIAT and hundreds of western companies being the leaders in production of the equipment for the automotive industry and thanks to the thousands and thousands of workers who came to the city from all over the Soviet Union.
The construction of the VAZ Company was done thanks to the fruitful business collaboration with the FIAT and with more than 1000 foreign companies and organizations which supplied the technological equipment, materials and participated in the development of the projects and training of the plant personnel. It helped to the VAZ Company to gain some achievements regarding the scales and rates of work.
For the FIAT it contributed to strengthening of its reputation in the world’s automotive industry.
Italians were sent to Russia by Fiat for the first phase of the project; among them there were technicians, skilled workers, economists, managers, cooks, and even one priest.
Through the direct experiences of the protagonists, and through a formidable historical footage, the documentary will tell this special experience.
The direct testimonies describe every aspect of life of that unusual community: the marriages between Italians and Russians, the failed romantic relationships, the parties held on Saturdays at the gym, that was transformed into a place for Catholic church every Sunday. Also it’s the testimony of some personal disillusions about socialisms. The protagonists are indeed careful narrators of the rhythms and dynamics of work, the cases of depression and alcoholism, the difficult adaptation to the climate and the necessity to solve and overcome problems.
Out of the assembly line the western workers experienced the Russian Christmas, the trips on the Volga River, many moments of friendship with the Soviet workers. Many home movies and some Russian archive images tell these moments. Also the relations with the political authorities gave rise to moments of real sharing of experiences as well as ambiguous and dangerous situations with the agents of the KGB.


Information for the Audience: 

Directors: Federico Schiavi
Writers: Federico Schiavi, Gian Piero Palombini
Producers: Laura Romano
Key cast:

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