Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
The independence of Yugoslavia in the '70s from the rest of the Eastern Bloc is nowhere more clearly indicated than in this satirical film which makes a mockery of socialist boasts of progress and goodness. A "shock force" worker, (or "stakhanovite") was someone who was sent into a production situation to serve as an example and to increase output. In order to do this, they often had to work at a pace and in a manner which was life-threatening. This practice was initiated in the Stalin era using the simple Russian coal miner Alexei Stakhanov (hence, "stakhanovite") and was a major part of the propaganda efforts of the time. In this film, sometime in the past, such a squad had been sent to work in a Yugoslav coal mine, and its members won national publicity, medals, and many official commendations. However, in the present, one of its members is reduced to serving as a gate guard. His sincere and earnest efforts have won him the contempt of contemporary young workers.
boss [employer], labor-relations