2021 | Documentary | 2 x 45‘   Jahrhundertbauwerk Trasse (2021) on IMDb

The Pipeline of the Century
How Soviet Natural Gas Came to the West


Today, more than 200,000 kilometres of natural gas pipelines invisibly connect Eastern and Western Europe. The lion’s share of this gigantic construction was built under the toughest of conditions and highly sensitive political circumstances.

It is a true political thriller that took place in the midst of the Cold War: The UK, France and West Germany invested billions into business deals with the USSR, their sworn political enemy. At the same time, the USA emerged as both an opponent of and a profiteer from the project. The film traces clever arrangements of Western steel pipes and state-of-the-art technology being traded for Eastern gas.

Yet permeated by the events of the time, the narrative is driven by the story of the construction workers, who lived a battle against nature and a clash of cultures. The promise of wild nature and above-average wages enticed thousands from across the Eastern Bloc to work on the pipelines, including 35,000 from East Germany. While some enjoyed the greatest adventure of their lives, there were also cases of forced labour. Exemplary for the many different nationalities working on the construction, witnesses from the former GDR and USSR are at the heart of the film.

Bettina Offermann | distribution@looks.film

Executive Producer
Regina Bouchehri
Gunnar Dedio

A co-production by

In cooperation with

Writer & Director
Matthias Schmidt

Creative Producer
Martin Philipp Graf

Photo © Thomas Billhardt / Galerie Camera Work AG