The Nothing Factory Screen 69 of 4 reviews

The Nothing Factory

2017

The Nothing Factory Poster
  • Widening the lens to take in the ills of an entire economic system, Pedro Pinho’s The Nothing Factory is the latest cinematic response to Portugal’s financial crisis... The presence of a shadowy character on the fringes—a kind of labor theorist or crisis-chasing agitator—allows for some pointed Marxist musings, and the three-hour running time contains manifold surprises and pleasures, notably a few bursts of self-reflexive song-and-dance and the loveliest of nods to Straub-Huillet’s Sicilia!.

  • The scope of the canvas is bold indeed, at once myopic in its resolute attention to these few people in this one particular and small-scale crisis, and expansive in its direct acknowledgement of this story and its participants as a by no means rare example of the pernicious, corrosive effect of capitalism’s endless late stage on individual human beings.

  • An energetic ensemble piece from documentarist Pinho, making his fiction debut, The Nothing Factory echoes certain 60s-70s French screen examinations of labour issues (Godard’s Tout va bien being the most celebrated) but it’s very much its own thing, intelligent and inventive if somewhat ragged round the edges.

  • An occasionally inspired, but often trying three-hour-long, genre-hopping patchwork of social-realist cinema. While such a span feels like a respectful reflection of the complexity of the issues it explores, it also allows the film to come into and out of focus so often that it dulls engagement long before an unexpected musical number in the last half-hour briefly perks it up again.

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