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The social inequalities in today’s Mexico are all-encompassing – differences made possible by right wing politicians that for many years has concentrated their efforts towards economic growth for the elite. Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the left-wing party MORENA was elected in December 2018, an event that suggested a new direction for the economic politics in the country. But still, it remains to be seen if Obrador and the government will be able to make substantial changes to Mexico’s economic structure.

The immense class divide, and especially the hazardous conditions for the working class, is the subject matter for director David Zonana in his feature film debut Workforce.

Francisco is a construction worker, hard at work to fulfill the luxury housing-dreams of the elites in the Mexico City. When Francisco’s brother who works alongside him dies in a workplace accident, Francisco and his pregnant sister-in-law Luce expects to be compensated. However, the employer disputes this, claiming the death was a result of alcohol abuse – even though Francisco’s brother practices temperance. Workforce is a deeply political film that raises questions about social structures and injustice but avoids providing easy answers.

Johanne Svendsen Rognlien


David Zonana (b. 1989) was born in Mexico City, and has worked as a producer for the company Lucia Films on Gabriel Ripstein’s 600 Miles (2015) as well as Michel Franco’s Chronic (2015) and April’s Daughter (2017). Zonana himself has directed the short films Princess (2014), Dim Blood (2016), and Brother (2017). In 2015, the film magazine Variety named Zonana one of the upcoming talents of Mexican cinema. His feature film debut Workforce premiered at Toronto Film Festival in 2019 and has later been awarded at the film festivals in Gothenburg, Palm Springs and Zurich, amongst others.

This film is part of


Original title Mano de obra

Country Mexico

Year 2019

Director David Zonana

Screenplay David Zonana

Cinematography Carolina Costa

Producer Michel Franco, Eréndira Núñez Larios, David Zonana

Cast Luis Alberti, Horacio Celestino, Hugo Mendoza

Production Company Lucia Films

Distribution Wild Bunch

Runtime 1h 22m

Language Spanish

Subtitles English

Genre Drama

Format DCP

Age limit 12

Links IMDb

This film is in competition for the Audience Award.

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