In the Pit

This documentary looks at the working lives of the men who are constructing Mexico City’s elevated roadway. There’s no plot, just the slow completion of this massive public-works project, but there are some horrifying and occasionally compelling human stories. At the center is Jose, a self-loathing day laborer who beats his wife and belittles his fellow workers. Vile and completely unself-conscious about his misogyny and amorality, Jose is an odd figure to pick to represent the working class, but I guess director Juan Carlos Rulfo had his reasons. He also highlights Hernández, who spends his days listening to Placencia telling him how gay, stupid and odorous he is. Then there’s Natividad Montes, the only woman shown among the workers. She’s clearly been driven mad by the construction project as she talks about the day when God and Satan appeared visibly before her and asked for her soul. While there’s some nice aerial photography and a few good moments with the construction crew, most of In the Pit felt like being forced to sit around with people who were simultaneously revolting and boring. But then maybe I was just overwhelmed by the casual way in which spousal abuse, a hatred of gays and bullying cruelty were shown without comment or context.


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