Archive of films Work in Progress / En construcción

Spain / France
2001, 125 min

Section: Variety Critics´ Choice
Year: 2002

A highly unusual record of the construction of an apartment block in Barcelona’s El Chino neighbourhood. This is not a documentary in the ordinary sense, but a dexterous compilation of 110 hours of material filmed over a period of eighteen months. In only his fourth film in 18 years, the director provides more than a mere descriptive commentary by presenting his audiences with a truly original film.


As unsung at home as Victor Erice, the helmer to whom he clearly owes a sizable debt, Jose Luís Guerín is one of the more idiosyncratic Spanish talents at work. Built around an idea which looks doomed on paper but which works brilliantly on screen - to record the construction of a building - "Work in Progress" is willfully offbeat but the docu´s potential pretentiousness is beautifully held in check by its warm, embracing humanity. Only Guerín´s fourth pic in 18 years, "Work" is a craftily edited summary of 110 hours of footage recorded over 18 months during the building of an apartment block in Barcelona´s El Chino district. There is no voiceover explaining who the people are, and no one speaks to camera - what they don´t tell us about themselves is as interesting as what they do. Jonathan Holland

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Variety Critics´ Choice
Director: José Luis Guerín
Screenplay: José Luis Guerín
Dir. of Photography: Alex Gaultier
Editor: Mercedes Alvarez, Núria Esquerra
Producer: Antoni Camín
Production: Ovideo TV, s.a.
Cast: Juana Rodríguez, Iván Guzmán Jímenez, Juan López, Juan Manuel López, Santiago Segade, Abdel Azíz El Mountassir, Antonio Atar

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