In the Pit

"Very Good"

In the Pit Review


Juan Carlos Rulfo wants to show you how the other half lives. In the Pit is a remarkable documentary that gives us a very close look at what it's like to be a down-in-the-dirt manual laborer in a third-world country. What's surprising is how uplifting it is. As the gregarious highway construction workers slave away building a new top deck to a long, elevated freeway that courses through the heart of Mexico City, they really seem to make the best of their humble lives. Bring as much liberal guilt as you want, but they'll just wave it away and hand you a beer.

Among the many workers Rulfo introduces us to is Chabelo, a very small man with a very big smile who is utterly gracious to the film crew, showing them around and sharing his live-and-let-live philosophy of life. Although he's usually filthy (the other workers kid him about it), often has little to eat, and limps away alone at the end of his shift to God knows where, he clearly loves what he does and enjoys spending the day on the job site.

Equally interesting is Vecencio Martinez Vázquez, who sports a long ponytail during the work week but assumes an entirely different persona on the weekends when he puts on cowboy clothes and races horses on the outskirts of town. He's quite the caballero.

Most haunting is an anonymous woman whose job it is to arrange the traffic cones and signs around the construction site as night falls, standing in multiple lanes of stalled traffic enduring the honking and the pollution. In a soft voice she admits she really doesn't know how she goes on and that perhaps she is losing -- or has already lost -- her mind. It's a revealing moment and one of only a few where you get a glimpse of what such a harsh life can do to a person.

Rulfo ends his documentary with a truly memorable shot: a very long helicopter shot that skirts smoothly above the highway deck on which we've spent the previous 90 minutes. On and on it cuts through the city, and the men below climb around on it like ants, with a few of them looking up and waving at the passing camera. It's a spectacular image and one that puts the daily grind of all those downtrodden workers into perspective. They've built something truly amazing.

Aka En el hoyo.

Someone needs some Lava.



In the Pit

Facts and Figures

In Theaters: Friday 25th May 2007

Distributed by: Kino International

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Juan Carlos Rulfo

Producer: Eugenia Montiel, Juan Carlos Rulfo

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