Based on the stories of Bohumil Hrabal. The action in this caustic invective against totalitarian society unfolds in the 1950s at a steelworks, where the government sends those who have displeased the ruling regime to be reeducated. The hard labor must beat respectable members of society – which is to say, ones who don’t ask questions – out of a philosopher, an attorney, and a former merchant, on the factory’s patented metal troughs. However, in spite of the hopelessness of their situation, the heroes don’t wallow in their misery, but rather relate to their surroundings with humor, and in doing so save their inner freedom and faith in “moral law.”
The film was shelved immediately after it left the cutting room, and sat there unwatched for 20 years. Received the Golden Bear at the 1990 Berlin Film Festival.
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