Rafael has been a cleaner in the same light bulb factory for thirty years. It is his last day before retirement, and he even buys himself a pair of new shoes for the occasion. But his boss soon takes the wind out of this reticent man’s sails. Although Rafael has been a diligent and reliable worker, as an illegal immigrant to Tijuana from El Salvador he has no right to expect a pension … Lidia is one of seven people keeping house for a rich Mexican woman in a wheelchair who has dedicated her life to her whippet ‘Princess’ who eats from a golden bowl and sleeps on a silk cushion. Lidia has spent thirty years taking care of the dog and its ailing mistress, day and night. When Lidia’s employee dies and leaves her fortune to her dog nothing much changes for Lidia at first. Then she begins to think about what it means to have a dog as an employer … José-Luis Valles’ film Workers paints an affecting picture of the division of labour in today’s ostensibly egalitarian society. His point of view is political, not polemical, and his camera takes its time to describe scenes not just through actions but above all in certain moods. [Courtesy of Berlinale]

The Searches

Revenge, redemption and chance are the topics that underpin José Luis Valle’s new film. A man runs his errands: cleans the house, picks up the dry cleaning, pays his debts and buys groceries. Then, inexplicably commits suicide. His death smites his wife, Elvira, who is unaware of the reasons for suicide. At another point, Ulises is assaulted and stripped of the portfolio that held the only photo he kept of her deceased daughter. He sets out to find the thief and kill him. The lives of Elvira and Ulises intersect unexpectedly.