28 Jul 2010

In The Pit

The construction of the upper-deck of a highway may not sound like the most thrilling subject matter for a documentary, but Juan Carlos Rulfo's fascinating In the Pit takes this addition to the enormous Periferico highway as its subject matter, and is all the better for doing so. Made over a three-year period it follows the lives of a small group of workers engaged in this most precarious of professions, and fully explores the multitude of ironies and injustices that allow men to risk their lives every day but not to earn enough money to drive a car and subsequently never be able to drive across the bridge they helped build.

Rulfo never openly condemns the powers-that-be in Mexico City, but rather lets his intriguing subjects speak for themselves. His passive, non-judgemental style is reminiscent of Werner Herzog, and he has a cast of fascinating characters to back him up; from ‘El Grande’ who bitterly laments his former life of cocaine and prostitutes to the more philosophical and softly-spoken crane operator Chavelo who takes everything in his stride. In the Pit is a stunning portrayal of ordinary men living and working in extraordinary circumsatnces, and as it reaches its ecstatic conclusion and Rulfo’s camera soars above the entire 10.5 mile freeway in a breathtaking six–minute aerial shot, your thoughts will return to the traffic guard who recites the Mexican legend claiming that whenever a bridge is built, the devil asks for one soul in order to ensure its durability, and you will wonder if it may be true after all.

Director: Juan Carlos Rulfo

Certificate: 15

Runtime: 85 minutes (approx.)

Special Features: ‘Making of’ documentary

Release date: 21 June 2010

DVD RRP: £15.99

Matthew Kleebauer

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this sounds really interesting. I'll track down a copy.