An intimate “proletarian” epic on the rebellion and melancholy of a working class alienated not only from its own labor, but also from the very idea of revolution as the struggle for its rights.
Lisbon workers witness their bosses clandestinely selling off equipment from their factory. This is a clear sign that the elevator factory they have been working at for many years is about to be closed down. In protest, the heroes occupy the factory, reject the paltry compensation offered them and defend their labor, which is rapidly depreciating against the backdrop of economic crisis and dehumanised market relations.
Weighing their chances and figuring out the options for further action, the characters gradually immerse themselves into the routine of left-wing rhetoric, the way out of which may prove to be something completely unexpected—like a sudden dance of solidarity that turns the revolution into a musical.
The film was shot in the documentary style on 16 mm film, with real workers playing some roles. But high-detail realism is combined here with an unexpected absurdity. The world premiere of the picture took place in 2017 as part of the “Directors’ Fortnight” programme at the 70th Cannes Film Festival.
The Nothing Factory
Directed by Pedro Pinho. Portugal, 2017. 177 min.