Scen.: Otar Iosseliani. F.: Shalva (Shio) Shioshvili. Prod.: Gruziya-Film. DCP. D.: 16’. Bn.
This early film by Ioseliani, the last of the Georgian masters, shows a fascinating combination of influences – from his own background in music, to Soviet documentaries about heavy industry. He records a day in the life of the workers at a steel mill, where the juxtaposition of vulnerable flesh and raging, smelting iron creates striking images. Tuji opens with city-symphony style shots of industrial chimneys. From there, in a movement from light to darkness – repeated elsewhere in the film – it’s off to the mill. The post-production sound, although realistic, adds an eerie dimension. There are humorous touches, however: during a lunch break a gigantic fan is used by the workers to dry their sweat-soaked clothes and the air blowing around the shirts turns gives them new sculptural forms. And later, the workers are seen barbecuing by simply holding the skewers close to the ground, where the temperature is high enough to grill their daily meal.