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In the Pit

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Juan Carlos Rulfo's loose documentary depicts a few of the construction workers laboring over the last three years on a double-decker freeway that traverses Mexico City. The first thing you'll note is the glaring absence of safety practices: One superstitious worker shrugs off the danger by explaining that the devil needs souls to keep the freeway pillars strong. The half-dozen men we meet -- hard-working, profane, lively with easy camaraderie -- have indeed made some pact with the devil. The work is steady, the wages good, but their lives seemed consumed by the project. It's understandable when you see Rulfo's jaw-dropping final sequence: a lengthy pan via helicopter along the nearly unfathomable length of this construction project. This last shot is the film's stunner, but throughout Rulfo's camera frames the emerging freeway in all its ugliness and beauty, a veritable creature of the city literally rising from the ground, borne on the sturdy backs its citizens. In Spanish, with subtitles.

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