Workforce, dir. David Zonana, Mexico 2019, 82 min.
Nothing is quite what is seems in David Zonana’s extraordinary feature debut. From the dynamic opening to its detailed mapping of the complex interrelations that govern the building site where plasterer Pacheco works on the renovation of a luxury home, this complex study of human behaviour juxtaposes altruism and opportunism with unexpected consequences. Zonana manages to construct a deeply political film about exploitative labour practices that avoids any easy answers. Employing a cast of largely non-professional performers – the filmmaker spent several months collaborating with bricklayers and plasterers to develop the piece – Workforce benefits from a real sense of lived-in authenticity. The result increasingly echoes Buñuelian cinema – disquieting, original and hugely timely – where human nature is put under the cinematic scalpel.