Workforce (Mano de obra)
Workforce (David Zonana, 2019)
A new generation of Mexican filmmakers is rising. After Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu had their work appraised internationally, David Zonana debut feature has been nominated best film in San Sebastián Film Festival, TIFF and Zurich Film Festival. No wonder Sundance Institute has plans to start a festival in Mexican territory. Although neatly distinguishable stylistically speaking, all those storytellers have the same concern: give visibility to their people. Zonana is no exception.
Workforce begins naively, and accidentally grows in complication. A construction worker in Mexico City falls to his death tragically. His brother, who was working on the same building, seeks justice and compensation, but the firm is fabricating evidence not to pay the family. He's left a pregnant woman who will intensely drive herself into alienation and self-destruction.
On one level, Workforce is simply a story about building a house. But a deeper look reveals how capitalism works, and why every attempt of revolution have failed so far. In a nutshell, the story reproduces a microcosmic agrarian reform, which is what every left party in Latin America claims is necessary in order to bring some equity to their people. The film also portrays a sort of Occupy movement, once the house is invaded by other construction workers and their families.
Considering that aspect, Workforce resonates with the Brazilian narrative in The Cambridge Squatter, of which Q&A I proudly have the honor to lead in The Cinema Museum a couple of years ago. Workforce tells the current reality of many workers and homeless; it emphasizes their fight and their destiny, as many of them are incarcerated more than once.
But unlike the Brazilian movie, that is a docufiction, the Mexican production stresses the utopian dreams of the low class. The end credits present no music as if to shock us, refraining any compassion. It forces us to face a mirrored reflection of the human condition.
You can watch Workforce during London Film Festival. Buy tickets here.