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Robotnicy 1971 - Nic o nas bez nas (1971)



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Release Date:

14 March 2010 (Greece) See more »

Also Known As:

Gospodarze See more »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

WFD See more »
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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


Since 1972 the censored and re-edited version of the film was distributed in Polish TV and the title was turned into "Gospodarze". The changes were made in spite of the directors' protests. See more »

Alternate Versions

Banned, re-edited and re-released under the title _Gospodarze (1971)_. See more »

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User Reviews

Sometimes the f**king you're getting isn't worth the f**king you're getting
10 April 2006 | by max von meyerlingSee all my reviews

Here, in 1971, there is a recognizable Kieslowski technique which is the use of chapters with an oblique heading. Even though this film is about an immediate subject ground in a dense and recognizable subject - the aftermath of the strikes in December 1970, there is some of that dreamy and immaterial aspect of events and peoples relationship within them. If one wasn't aware of Kieslowski's subsequent career one wouldn't notice it taken instead by the exemplary nature of the worker's relationship to the workplace and that workplace's position in society and societies encompassing of the worker. It is a circle whose energy, it is suggested, runs in both directions at the same time in order to function properly and any interruption of the flow makes the whole breakdown, shatter and stop.

The popular notion in the US, aided and abetted by its opportunistic politicians and their media cheering squads, is that Communism fell, somehow, by exhortations by The Gipper ( the evil empire - tear down this wall etc.) and by committing to a super heated arms race which broke the back of the Soviet economy and therefore loosed the threat of military control over the eastern block. The War in Afghanistan is no longer included in the litany of "how we ended communism" for some reason. This hypothesis is not considered an opinion but as a solid fact even by those who consider evolution an unproven idea. In fact, any 'cause' for the fall of communism can only be an opinion as it is an event whose dynamics are as unprovable as one of those 'what if...' suppositions (What if the South won the civil war? etc.). My own idea is that it was the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August '68 which doomed the system because sincere progressives and working class activists, the best and the brightest, realized how useless it was trying to work within a system which always favored the corrupt opportunists who would always manage to run things for their own comfort and aggrandizement, while everyone else got what was left and meanwhile had to raise hosannas to their increasingly hated masters who used the workers own well being as the excuse to control them.

This film also exists in two directions. The sub-title is not very subtle: Nothing Without Us. You can't have socialism without the workers and you can't have the workers unless you listen to them. This was made just after the December events. There was a change of governments and the hope that things would be put on course. There is a faux worker's interrogation in CURRICULUM VITAE (1975), where he describes his retreat from activism because he lost all respect for the factory secretary, but, because the man who replaced him seemed to be a sympathetic fellow, he felt rejuvenated and once more joined in the political process. This is analogous to what happened in Poland. Gromyka fell and was supplanted by Gierek, and then there was hope, and then, slowly, people realized nothing happened, nothing changed. People who knew how people felt were not put into positions of power and responsibility. This documentary exists as a warning to those in power of the seething and ernest idealism from below, and they chose to ignore it with the historical results. Just as in Czechoslovakia and throughout the east block good people realized they could no longer work inside the system,that it was hopeless trying to influence it from the bottom up. Out went sympathetic socialists with a feel for people like Dubcek and in remained the leadership whose convenient interpretations of Marxist theory reminded me of the phrase -(they) learned all the words and sang all the notes but they never quite learned the song (she) sang.

Robotnicy 1971 - Nic o nas bez nas (1971) therefore exists as a record of the hopes that would be dashed, for the last time, of a society built on the idea of social justice. It is, in the truest sense, a document of a time, of people, and an idea.

I also offer a certain corrective. In the United States there was a Firestone Tire factory in Des Moines which was the biggest employer in the state of Iowa. Through grossly disastrous mismanagement, Firestone failed and the factory was forced to close and the company was eventually sold to Japan. While the managers and high officials received their golden parachutes the workers got nothing, except, maybe, having the loss of their jobs blamed on their union. Kieslowski never indicts an ideology, merely the people who lack empathy and understanding. When we see what what goes down in a specific case or in a generalized way is something that we've all experienced. We've all worked at places where the jerk bosses treated people badly and then, against the better judgment of people actually on the job, ruined the business. In the US this is par for the course but under socialism this isn't supposed to happen. But, as we can see so very clearly in this film, it can all go wrong even when it shouldn't. And now we know why. As they say in Hollywood (speaking of dysfunctional businesses run by jerks and idiot bureaucrats), sometimes the f**king you're getting isn't worth the f**king you're getting.

One word of warning- the print shown at the Lincoln Center retrospective (2006) was atrocious. I think this may be due to the fact that soon after the film's completion it was shelved and released later in an edited form. Presumably it was edited using the negative making the original materials unavailable. This means that this important document should be the subject of a full restoration- negative materials accumulated, fine prints found and dupe negatives made of everything not found to reconstruct the film and then, through the magic of modern digitalization, have the image restored to original or even better than-original condition. Then retranslated subtitles added. Its an idea.

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