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Teaching Materials

A Tunnel (2019)


The documentary film “A Tunnel” shows the construction of the Georgian-Chinese project “New Silk Road”, which involves the population of the villages of the Kharagauli region: Mileti and Zvare. Audience is introduced to the strange and uneasy relationship that has developed between local residents and representatives of a Chinese company.

XXI Century, modern Georgia

  • In 2013, China launched an innovative and unprecedented project: a unified chain of land and sea routes – the New Silk Road. In 2014, Georgia, due to its geopolitical location, became involved in the construction of the New Silk Road and become as important a strategic partner as it was centuries ago, when the transcontinental trade line The Great Silk Road passed through Georgia from Asia to Europe.
  • Large-scale infrastructure projects almost always change the lifestyles of local people. The same happened in the case of “A Tunnel”. The Georgian Railway Modernization Project has conditioned the lifestyle of locals for 6 years. As part of the new Chinese project “One Belt, One Road” – construction of an unprecedented length (8.5 km) railway tunnel through the village of Zvare in Kharagauli district has begun.
  • Construction work carried out during the construction of the tunnel endangered the health of the workers and, in addition, endangered the village. The strike in the village of Zvare began in 2016 and lasted 15 days. The builders demanded safe working conditions and overtime pay. The construction of the Zvare tunnel was completed in 2017.
  • How justified is the start of concrete construction, road transport works without preliminary investigation, what are the consequences of environmental threats caused by these processes?
  • In one of the episodes of the film, an elderly woman shows cracks on the walls of a house as a result of road works. What is the metaphorical expression for this particular episode of the film?
  • At the beginning, the strange relationship between Georgian and Chinese workers makes you even smile, and in the end the conflicting parties freeze, what do you think is the reason?
  • What is the main message of the directors, in your opinion, why are they interested in this topic? How interesting is the depiction of the population of Zvare and Mileti? How attractive is the rural part of Georgia for you?
  • How important are industrial projects for the country: transport, railways, dams… Does all this have a positive impact on the economy and how does this whole process affect the existing landscape and nature?

Write about this film
The film depicts the lifestyle of people living in the village of Zvare and the village of Mileti, with a severe social background. The directors are interested in and study the rural reality of Georgia, the interdependence and influences of people and the environment. In the writing process, focus on the interests and lifestyles of the locals. How the tunnel construction process will affect each of their families. In Georgia today, 70% of the population of highland villages are elderly, what is the reason for this? In addition, discuss why the world and our country are facing an ecological catastrophe, what preventive measures should be taken and who is to blame for all this, each of us, the public or private sector?

For Individual work
“A Tunnel” is an interesting and important work in the new Georgian documentary film, both in terms of reflecting the rural reality of people and labor rights, as well as in terms of environmental challenges. Find out more about similar projects in Georgia. What “positive” effect did all of this have on humans and nature?

Group work/additional activities
Curriculum links: Geography, History, Civic Education

Where a person cannot go himself, cinema will take him! The study of rural reality has become more and more popular in Georgian cinema. Directors are looking for stories and characters far from the capital. Discuss what might be the reason for this. As for group work, focus on the issues raised in the film, discuss human rights, a safe work environment, responsibilities and the role of employer and worker in modern Georgia. Also, focus on environmental issues and preventive mechanisms in our reality. What could be solutions to environmental problems?

Additional activities:
After the discussion and work in groups students can give to a narrative a visual form of wall newspaper or an presentation. Focus on environmental problems and challenges in Georgia. Use the example of a specific city and / or region for this question.

მოსალოდნელი შედეგი

As a result of the subsequent discussion and review of the film, in which it is necessary to use the epoch-making contexts and the above recommendations, the student will learn more about ecological problems in Georgia


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