In his monumental, decade-long Ózd series, Tamás Almási followed the fate of the Ózd Metallurgical Works and its employees. In its glory days, 40,000 people inhabited the town of Ózd, most of whom were employed by the metallurgical works. Nowadays, the population barely reaches 20,000, and is faced with the highest unemployment rate in the region.
Almási began filming in Ózd in 1987, when one could already see how the demise of iron and steel production would leave the town unemployed, and the changes and conflicts this would cause in their lives. Through his protagonists, Almási followed the town’s fate for more than a decade. At this year’s Verzió, we will screen the first film in the series, when factory workers must face the inevitable fact that continued layoffs will slowly lead to the factory’s complete closure.
Thirty-four years later, Zsuzsa Debre, a student of Almási, returned to the town to reflect on the Ózd series and show, from a hitherto unexamined female perspective, the memories, habits, and nostalgia the town has of the factory. To do so, she chose a neutral, public space known by the locals, where people often turn up to discuss generally-relevant questions. Besides the daily functioning of the hair salon, almost incidentally, we learn about the past and present of Ózd through the personal stories of the women who come in to have their hair done or chat, and who share their memories of the “golden age” when the Ózd Metallurgical Works was still in operation.