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In The Pit

In The PitAll over the world, long motorways and
enormous bridges gradually become
  part of the landscape; but behind the
construction of these essentials of
modern living is an anonymous work-
Juan Carlos Rulfos multi-award
  winning documentary In The Pit explores
  both the monumental task of building a
  Second Deck for Mexico City
s Periférico
  freeway and the diverse characters who
  make up that workforce

CONSTRUCTION WORKERS ARE CURSED by commuters stuck in long traffic jams construction workers who sometimes have to take life-endangering risks during the course of their difficult days; but have you ever given a thought to these men who tirelessly toil for future progress? Do you ever wonder what they are like, how they live… or how they die?

Juan Carlos Rulfo's documentary In The Pit (En El Hoyo), winner of the Sundance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize, pays homage to the men who are constructing a seventeen-kilometre Second Deck for the Periférico freeway that will ultimately help to ease traffic conditions in Mexico City; where each day over 15 million people and three million vehicles are trying to reach their destinations.

This multi-award-winning documentary also looks at the city the bridge is to serve and, while the progress of the Second Deck is the structural and temporal basis of the film, a series of impressionistic vignettes captures the day-to-day lives of those involved in the construction. There is the hard worker, the liar, the joker and the player. We see their places of origin — Michoacán, Estado de Mexico — and look the way they live: festivities, music, food, funerals and, if they are lucky, at rest.

Mexican legend has it that for every bridge built the devil asks for one soul to ensure the bridge never falls. This important Second Deck will transform the city, its landscape and the lives of its inhabitants. In The Pit is the story of those whose energy and sweat go into the making of this mammoth work of concrete, steel and asphalt. They confide their hopes and dreams; they prove their stoicism and their dignity and, ultimately, this is the story of their survival.

And it is a story of contrasts and emotions; of triumphs and sometimes fatal mistakes; of the workforce's sheer determination to carve out a living for themselves and stave off the very real threat of poverty. And sometimes there is a lost soul — a soul that will remain as a memory of the workers who built the Second Deck, which is the largest bridge in the history of the city.

In The Pit is an intriguing, emotional and powerful vision of a Herculean task. Meet the human face of anonymous labour as the men dig, work in choking dust and piece together steel rods and concrete. Dreaming of well paid jobs and much better conditions, believing in fate and that "any major construction needs souls in its foundations", acknowledging religion and accepting their lot, these sometimes frustrated men open their hearts to the camera.

Foreman of the iron workers Vincendio Martínez longs to retire in his early thirties to work on a ranch. José Guădalupe Calzada is willing to do anything and everything and the religious Isabel Dolores Hernández speaks of the frustrations of years in "this hell". They believe that the only way you'll succeed in Mexico is to corrupt yourself. The men work, live, breath and sometimes sleep in this difficult environment where even the car drivers do not appear to be aware of the workers, who most fear having nothing to eat.

Natividad Sánchez Montes works on traffic control, is deeply superstitious and believes that she has seen both God and the devil. The men's lives are hard and confusing and mistakes can cost lives. But perhaps most telling of all is that the men will not be using the bridge themselves as they cannot afford to buy a car. It is their blood, sweat and tears that go into this construction yet others get the glory.
Subtitles are easy to read and the bad language is kept to a minimum. A little slow to start, this is a fascinating documentary that delves into the lives of men whose importance is oftn overlooked.

Network Releasing is delighted to announce the DVD debut of In The Pit (En El Hoyo), the critically-acclaimed documentary about Mexico City's inner Periférico freeway, on 21 June (2010). RRP: Ł15.99 | Running Time: 85 Minutes | Catalogue Number: 7953317 | English Subtitles. Extras: Behind The Scenes Documentary | Trailer.

"In The Pit is an intriguing, emotional and powerful vision of a Herculean task" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar

"A remarkable documentary. Truly memorable" — FilmCritic

"Fascinating… Electrifying" — Variety

"Breathtaking" — Time Out