Sundance-winning documentary about Mexico City workers building the humungous ‘El Segundo Piso’ elevated freeway. Captured toiling, bantering and philosphising in director Juan Carlos Rulfo’s raw, wobbly DV footage, the curious cast of characters invoke the social problems you’d expect (corruption, poverty, perilous working conditions), but it’s the rich mix of lives that grips. There’s poor picked-on, good-natured ‘Shorty’; the woman who talks about her encounters with God and the Devil; ‘El Guapo’, who hits on every woman he sees; a cowboy planning on retiring when he’s 32; as well as the unsympathetic ‘El Grande’, who brags about battering his wife so much she couldn’t open her eyes. You long for more context on both workers and project, though a breathtaking five-minute-plus helicopter shot along the snaking concrete-and-iron colossus at the close helps distract from any moans.
Juan Carlos Rulfo