Work In Progress

José Louis Guerin

Spain, 2001, 125 min

Over a period of eighteen months, José Louis Guerin shoots the construction of an apartment block in Barrio Chino, one of Barcelona’s old Chinese quarters. He shows the specific changes in the neighbourhood’s architecture and social structure and the human relationships that develop between workers at the site and people living in the neighbouring apartments.

The camerawork of Alex Gaultier is wonderful. His patient, contemplative camera registers details that make every image tell a story: a young construction worker develops a timid relationship with a young girl who lives in the building next door. It starts with an exchange of glances as she hangs out the washing on the balcony, then a smile, then a question, then a date. A story in a story.

We meet an immigrant worker from Morocco and his Spanish colleague. At first, the communication languishes a bit, but develops into conversations on philosophical issues about religion, life and death.

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