The Way Steel Was Tempered

The Way Steel Was Tempered, Z. Zilnik
[Shooting] The Way Steel Was Tempered, Z. Zilnik
Yugoslavia, 1988, 101 min, 35mm, color

directed by: Želimir Žilnik
written by: Želimir Žilnik, Branko Andrić
camera: Miodrag Milošević
edited by: Slobodan Jandrić
sound: Vladimir Stanojević, Karoly Morvai

cast: Lazar Ristovski, Tatjana Pujin, Ljiljana Blagojević, Relja Bašić, Lidija Stevanović, Milenko Pavić, Dragan Dimitrov, Dobrila Šokica, Jovica Milošević, Gyorgy Feyes, Nedeljko Vopevka, Snežana Višnjić

production: Terra film, Novi Sad

The smelter Leo dreams of a trouble-free life, but the social conditions are far from stable: difficult working conditions, the factory that is bust, hysterical directors trying to steal as much as they can before the ship sinks. At the same time Leo falls into his personal chaos. A teenager by the name of Verica sticks to him because she loves his rugged old rock’n’roll look. Then Leo's wife, Ruza, fed up by all of this, drops him and everything else and goes back to her parents. But then she meets Michel, the head of security at Leo's factory. Ex-legionnaire, Michel is a passionate photographer, his favourite subject being the female body. Leo loses his job over a jealous outburst. In anger he tries to overturn a monument on the town square - an winds up in prison. The factory management, however, takes on general hands from prison every day, and so Leo is reunited with is pals. When foreign business partners visit the foundry for a meeting, they are so impressed by the archaic appearance of the workers and the place's incredible atmosphere, they suggest that everything be put under a preservation order. Passionate collectors of socialist realism, they are particularly taken by Leo, take him with them as a perfect specimen. Two years later he triumphantly returns to his native country, clean-shaven and driving a Cadillac.