The road linking Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania corresponds to the site of a huge EU infrastructure project called Corridor #8. The distance between Sofia and Tirana is exactly 324 km. Currently the entire trip lasts… 3 days.
On the Balkans it turns out that short distances are sometimes the longest.
Corridor #8 is a mosaic film combining fragments from the everyday lives of the characters who live along a non-existent Balkan road.
The road passes through the Balkan countries of Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania. In 2007, Bulgaria joined the EU as its poorest member; Macedonia in the past was divided by ethnic conflict and was the scene of military action during the Yugoslav War; Albania, under its communist dictatorship, was completely isolated from the rest of the world.
In the same time Corridor #8 is a huge project meant to link the Black and the Adriatic Seas, already a decade in the planning.
Corridor #8 is a road historically known as the European part of the Silk Road upon which St. Peter brought Christianity to Europe. It was also the road used by smugglers during the Yugo Embargo.
Corridor #8 is a non-road movie.
The film asks whether we know the “others”, or our “neighbours”, since the three countries have lived in isolation for decades. The road is unreal, a fantasy, utopia.
In Bulgaria, the youngest member of the EU, we meet the builders of the new road. To them the road simply connects towns and villages, leading to the big city. To a Bulgarian, Albanians and Macedonians are like strange mythological animals from another planet because he has never met them. The story grows deeper as we approach the border – there the isolation has changed human lives, separated families. In Macedonia the scars from the recent war are striking. The separation between Macedonians and Albanians, between Christians and Muslims, has led to bloodshed. And the climax of this isolation is an Albanian family involved in a blood feud, unable to step outside the door of their home in Tirana for three years.
Along the way you’ll meet a cowboy train, a railway tunnel used for growing mushrooms, an international businessman building an oil pipeline, a local politician dreaming of becoming the next American president, a pimp working for KFOR soldiers and even a song dedicated to Corridor #8.