THIRD PARTY SCREENING: Facing the Music – Eurovision in Azerbaijan

Screening May 14, 2012 7:00 PM

It’s one of the most corrupt countries in the world and widely criticised for its human rights record but this year Azerbaijan is hosting Eurovision – one of the most glitzy TV music competitions in the world.

But what do we really know about Azerbaijan? What impact will this glitter invasion have on a country unused to being on the international stage? This oil-rich former Soviet republic bordering Iran, Turkey and Russia is undergoing rapid modernisation, forging strong new ties with Europe while retaining its roots in the East.

As Eurovision prepares to come to town, we find out what makes this country tick – exploring Azerbaijan’s rich cultural heritage through the eyes of our Azeri speaking presenter. From music to food, from the winding streets of the old city to the soaring skyscrapers of the modern town.

It’s a country of contrasts and contradictions.

With Eurovision pointing the international spotlight on Azerbaijan young Azeris are hoping for more freedom of expression and genuine moves to democracy. But how realistic is this?

We talk to the bloggers and flashmobbers at the forefront of calls for change – and we put their concerns to an MP.

We find out why the war with Armenia 20 years ago still casts a long shadow – to the point where Armenia has pulled out of the contest.

We look at the challenges of hosting an event like this and ask Eurovision officials whether it should be held here at all.

Duration: 50′