Netflix Short Film, The Trader, Gives Insight Into an Often Overlooked Culture


Joe Hinshaw, Reporter

In a mere 23 minutes, The Trader manages to delve into the unusual lifestyle of Eastern European farmers and merchants. In a society where potatoes are used as currency and poverty is the norm, the largely forgotten country of Georgia poses as a reminder of the scars inflicted by the Soviet Union.  

Directed by Tamta Gabrichidze, this film finds meaning in the most seemingly ordinary places. The individuals in the documentary are merely going through their day-to-day lives, oblivious of their unusual circumstances compared to the rest of Europe and the world.

Gabrichidze, a Georgia native, shows the outside world a glimpse into his upbringing through this film. The economy is Georgia is unreliable for its citizens, so they resort to trading and bartering for goods as opposed to traditional currency. The squalor most rural farmers live in is contrasted by the exuberance of the young children as they see the toy truck barrel down the dusty road.

Children beg their parents to give up their own harvest for a toy or trinket being sold out of the back of a beat-up van travelling through the village. The “trader” makes a living by trading his often second-hand goods to impoverished farmers. Once his day’s work is done, he makes the trek back to the closest thing Georgia has to a metropolis, the capital of Tbilisi.

This documentary gives viewers a unique perspective on a very specific community and way of life. The quiet shots of families eating a small dinner together or a man plowing his visibly infertile soil speak volumes about this lifestyle and is oddly mesmerizing.

I recommend giving The Trader a watch when browsing Netflix, as it is an eye-opening film, while also being just generally entertaining.