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THE BONUS

USSR, 1975 (MIFF 1976)

Director: Sergei Mikaelian

The Party Committee at a Soviet construction site ends its meeting late at night, and those taking part head for home. But the events of that day have been far from ordinary. One of the construction teams, led by Vasily Potapov, has been placed third in the socialist emulation drive; but the team has refused to accept the bonus that was due to it. The men are aware that their plant is badly managed, and that the awarding of the bonus was caused by a bureaucratic blunder. The film concentrates on the emergency meeting of the Party Committee, called together to discuss the refusal. The argument centres on the rights of the individual against the collective. The Bonus develops a clash between two psychological types, between two different attitudes to work, that are represented in the characters. Potapov, together with the Party Committee Secretary and the chief dispatcher, argue that the individual must be subordinate to the collective good. Others, such as the chief of the planning department and the safety engineer, are fond of using the word 'ours' in conversation, but they use it only as a shield to protect them from having to change the normal and comfortable course of affairs.

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