The Old School of Capitalism

Technical data
122 min, DV + HDV

The Old School of Capitalism is rooted in the first wave of worker revolts to hit Serbia since the advent of capitalism. Desperate workers bulldoze through factory gates and are devastated to discover that the site has been looted by the bosses. Eccentrically escalating confrontations—including a melee with workers wearing American football pads and helmets, with the boss and his security force in bulletproof vests—prove fruitless. Committed young anarchists offer solidarity, take the bosses hostage. A Russian tycoon, a Wall Street trader, and US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Belgrade unexpectedly complicate events, which culminate in a shocking end. As it progresses, the film produces an increasingly complex and yet unfailingly lively account of present-day—in fact, up-to-the-minute—struggles under the misery-inducing effects of both local and global capitalism.

The film was developed out of research into the factories of Sinvoz, BEK, and Jugoremedija in the city of Zrenjanin. These factories were devastated in the process of “reprivatization,” causing production to be stopped and leaving thousands of workers unemployed. Žilnik followed the workers’ protests and their occupation of the factories. The captured footage resulted in a documentary, which was given to the workers to spread their message. The production company Playground produkcija also joined the effort, and later produced a series of TV documentaries called What Remains After Bankruptcy. The series was screened on local TV and very much contributed to the visibility of and media attention to these struggles. After the documentary series was completed, the workers suggested to Žilnik that he should continue to work with the topic, and that the capitalist bastards should be shown and analyzed. Žilnik agreed and invited the workers themselves to play all the roles.

Credits

Credits

Written and directed by: Želimir Žilnik
Camera: Miodrag Milošević
Edited by: Vuk Vukmirović
Producer: Sarita Matijevic

Cast

Živojin Popgligorin, Robert Paroci, Zoran Paroški, Lazar Stojanović, Branimir Stojanović, Ernest Larsen, Tomislav Milankov, Dragan Siriški, Slobodan Djorić, Joca Šokarda, Svetozar Srdanov, Maja Krek, Ratibor Trivunac, Tadej Kurepa, Vladimir Marković, Tamara Miladinović, Leon Šurbanović, Rade Ćurčin

Production

Playground produkcija, Novi Sad

Photographs from the film
Photographs from shooting