Francisco (Luis Alberti) works as a mason on the construction site of a luxurious home in Mexico City. One day, one of the workers falls to his death from the roof of the building. That man happens to be Francisco’s brother, Claudio, who leaves behind his pregnant wife Lupe in a situation of economic precarity. Francisco tries to get compensation for the death of his brother to help his sister-in-law, but it gets denied by the homeowner and the construction site foreman. All these events cause Francisco to become more and more fed up with the conditions in which his family and his underprivileged colleagues are living, so he decides to plan revenge. But when it comes to power, we humans handle it very badly. And when social order and role changes occur, even if only in appearance, it is enough for a person to be transformed. Francisco will have to deal with the risks coming from this new position and face what he has become. Sometimes, it is not clear who is our worst enemy.
This modest Mexican film is the debut feature of filmmaker David Zonana who also wrote the script, mixing elements of social drama and psychological thriller with a sharp precision. Sharing some unexpected similarities with one of the best films of 2019, the Korean thriller Parasite (Bong Joon Ho), Mano de Obra (“Workforce”) plays its cards splendidly and makes its small budget and its mostly non-professional actors its best weapons. Screened at high-profile festivals such as Toronto and San Sebastian, and nominated for a constantly-growing number of awards at festivals such as Göteborg, Havana, Palm Spring and Zurich, this impressive debut comes to Americana to show audiences that independent Mexican cinema is in top form and has a lot to say.
2019: San Sebastián Film Festival
Runtime: 82 min
Direction: David Zonana
Screenplay: David Zonana
Cinematography: Carolina Costa
Cast: Luis Alberti, Horacio Celestino, Hugo Mendoza
Contact: Wild Bunch